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Justice at the margins: witches, poisoners, and social accountability in Northern Uganda

Allen, Tim and Reid, Kyla (2015) Justice at the margins: witches, poisoners, and social accountability in Northern Uganda. Medical Anthropology, 34 (2). 106 - 123. ISSN 0145-9740

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Identification Number: 10.1080/01459740.2014.936060


Recent responses to people alleged to be ‘witches’ or ‘poisoners’ among the Madi of northern Uganda are compared with those of the 1980s. The extreme violence of past incidents is set in the context of contemporary upheavals and, in effect, encouragement from Catholic and governmental attitudes and initiatives. Mob justice has subsequently become less common. From 2006, a democratic system for dealing with suspects was introduced, whereby those receiving the highest number of votes are expelled from the neighborhood or punished in other ways. These developments are assessed with reference to trends in supporting ‘traditional’ approaches to social accountability and social healing as alternatives to more conventional measures. Caution is required. Locally acceptable hybrid systems may emerge, but when things turn nasty, it is usually the weak and vulnerable that suffer.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group Ltd.
Divisions: International Development
Justice and Security Research Programme
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT Africa
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2014 16:35
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 02:00

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