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Moving toward ‘home’: love and relationships through war and displacement

Holly Porter | Published on September 29, 2020

The processual nature of affinal relationships is well established in Africanist anthropology. This article calls for greater attention to spatial considerations and proposes the concept of movement as an integral dimension of understanding affinal relationships. This observation springs from reflections on how the experiences of displacement and return in northern Uganda have reshaped constructions of ‘home’ in relation to love and intimate relationships. Reflecting on ethnographic research over ten years in northern Uganda where a two-decade-long war (1986–2006) occurred, the article examines movements in relationships between public and private spaces against the backdrop of wider societal movements from the spatial moral geography of camp to home. It reflects on how the spatial dynamics of camps entailed profound disruptions to ‘normal’ gendered orderings of life and how ‘home’ is being reconfigured in the aftermath of war.