Two marriages, two speeds. Disruptions and connections in post-conflict Gulu cityscape

  • Daniel Komakech
Keywords: return;, coupling;, disruption;, connection; Gulu cityscape;


Drawing from urban studies and conflict studies with specific focus on transitional justice sphere of return and reintegration, the paper elaborates on the existing complex disruptions and connections in coupling among former Lord’s Resistance Army returnees in Gulu city, northern Uganda. Deploying new conceptual tools, namely, the materiality and vitality of “kavera (polythene bag) that the men instrumentalise to negotiate a relationship with the women and also how women use “browning” technique (a metaphor built on a local emphasis on “brown is beautiful”) to attract and retain men, we think through coupling in the post-conflict Gulu cityscape to understand and enhance the complex dynamics involved and negotiated, making coupling among the returnees, fleeting and therefore, swinging in a centrifugal manner. Consequently, we contend that coupling amongst the returnees in the everyday cityscape of Gulu is open-ended and that the concept and the persons oscillate between "narrowing and expansion, ambiguity and precision” (AbdouMaliq and Pieterse 2017: x). In that sense, both the concept and the persons are elusive and has its own logic, with its terms of reference expanding and contracting as far as it can bend (AbdouMaliq and Pieterse 2017: 159). Therefore, instead of a normative or ideals of coupling, rather, we should think in terms of the everyday production and practices of ‘couple-making’.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2591-6955
print ISSN: 2507-7783