Living with Bad Surroundings: War, History, and Everyday Moments in Northern Uganda

Living with Bad Surroundings War History and Everyday Moments in Northern Uganda Since the Acholi people of northern Uganda have lived in the crossfire of a violent civil war with the Lord s Resistance Army and other groups fighting the Ugandan government Acholi have been m

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  • Title: Living with Bad Surroundings: War, History, and Everyday Moments in Northern Uganda
  • Author: Sverker Finnström
  • ISBN: 9780822341918
  • Page: 494
  • Format: Paperback
  • Since 1986, the Acholi people of northern Uganda have lived in the crossfire of a violent civil war, with the Lord s Resistance Army and other groups fighting the Ugandan government Acholi have been murdered, maimed, and driven into displacement Thousands of children have been abducted and forced to fight Many observers have perceived Acholiland and northern Uganda to bSince 1986, the Acholi people of northern Uganda have lived in the crossfire of a violent civil war, with the Lord s Resistance Army and other groups fighting the Ugandan government Acholi have been murdered, maimed, and driven into displacement Thousands of children have been abducted and forced to fight Many observers have perceived Acholiland and northern Uganda to be an exception in contemporary Uganda, which has been celebrated by the international community for its increased political stability and particularly for its fight against AIDS These observers tend to portray the Acholi as war prone, whether because of religious fanaticism or intractable ethnic hatreds In Living with Bad Surroundings, Sverker Finnstr m rejects these characterizations and challenges other simplistic explanations for the violence in northern Uganda Foregrounding the narratives of individual Acholi, Finnstr m enables those most affected by the ongoing dirty war to explain how they participate in, comprehend, survive, and even resist it.Finnstr m draws on fieldwork conducted in northern Uganda between 1997 and 2006 to describe how the Acholi especially the younger generation, those born into the era of civil strife understand and attempt to control their moral universe and material circumstances Structuring his argument around indigenous metaphors and images, notably the Acholi concepts of good and bad surroundings, he vividly renders struggles in war and the related ills of impoverishment, sickness, and marginalization In this rich ethnography, Finnstr m provides a clear eyed assessment of the historical, cultural, and political underpinnings of the civil war while maintaining his focus on Acholi efforts to achieve good surroundings, viable futures for themselves and their families.

    One thought on “Living with Bad Surroundings: War, History, and Everyday Moments in Northern Uganda”

    1. It took me three months, but I finally finished the first book I started when I arrived in Uganda. My predecessor here left behind a few books, one of which was this one. It took me so long to get through it because it's very dense -- Finnstrom is a Swedish anthropologist who lived in Uganda on and off for several years, and he tries to weave together his interactions with northern Ugandans, particularly young people, with anthropological theory and somehow relate all of that to the underlying h [...]

    2. A rich & nuanced ethnographic account of the conflict in Northern Uganda, with a particular focus on the experiences and views of the younger generation in Acholiland. Finnstroem skillfully highlights the political dimensions of a complex conflict that is often reduced to simplistic and sensationalist narratives. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of postcolonial Ugandan history - or to those interested in reading a thoughtful analysis of what [...]

    3. Visited Gulu, Uganda and witnessed first hand the devastation of the Acholi people. THis book helped me understand the conflict in the area from both the LRA Rebels and the Uganda Army as well. Written by an anthropologist.

    4. Finnstrom challenges the official discourse in one of the most notoriously conflicted regions of east Africa. More than anything, he asks the reader to consider that the situation is not so simple as we might wish it were--nobody is purely righteous and nobody is purely wicked.

    5. So anthropological. This book would have been good had I actually invested in it. It's the end of the semester. I'm sorry.

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