Haunted Families after the war in Uganda: Doubt as Polyvalent Critique

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With a point of departure in a Ugandan grandmother's questioning and critique of the state of continuing illness and misfortune in her family after the war in Northern Uganda, this article explores ideas about haunting, trauma and contagious connections in kinship. The article contributes to anthropological debates about hauntology, trauma, phenomenology and kinship. It provides a contribution to the hauntology discussion by pointing out how a phenomenological perspective can offer an indigenous polyvalent critique of kinship connections and larger political issues simultaneously. It argues against functionalist explanations of witchcraft beliefs, by drawing attention to the fact that doubt and uncertainty are central to these forms of knowledge, and therefore provide 'not too dangerous' ways of raising social critique. The article contributes to kinship studies, with a phenomenological perspective on the double dynamic of nutritious and poisonous connections in family relationships.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEthnos
Volume85
Issue4
Pages (from-to)595-611
Number of pages17
ISSN0014-1844
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

    Research areas

  • FORMER CHILD SOLDIERS, GHOSTS, Haunting, NORTHERN, SPIRITS, critique, doubt, kinship, trauma

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