Departmental Bulletin Paper Mobility as Emancipation: Viewing People on the Move in Uganda through the Dwelling Perspective

TAHARA, Noriko

56pp.53 - 75 , 2018-03 , The Research Committee for African Area Studies, Kyoto University
ISSN:0286-9667
NCID:AA10636379
Description
The natural resources surrounding Lake Albert in Uganda have always attracted a wide range of migrants from northern and western Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Rwanda. This study focuses on human mobility related to subsistence activities in a post-immigration and multi-ethnic village (Runga) on the eastern side of Lake Albert. In 2004, the rediscovery of oil in the Lake Albert basin(1) led to indigenous people, mostly of Nyoro decent, registering the land in order to acquire profit from the oil company Tullow. Furthermore, with the growing importance of fish in the global market, Beach Management Units (BMUs) were introduced to the landing sites in the Hoima district of Lake Albert to retain fish resources for national profit (Tahara, 2008). Related to these developments, national and regional policies have become increasingly constricted to protect their respective interests. As a result, several actions have negatively impacted peoples’ everyday lives, for example, the burning of fishing nets and campaigns to drive immigrants away from the landing sites of Lake Albert. In response, mobility has become a flexible strategy for people to improve their lives, and to become liberated from national and ethnic boundaries. Indeed, this analysis of spatial and social mobility transcends traditional heterogeneous indicators such as ethnicity and nationality, to demonstrate how individuals can be emancipated from boundaries through the activities of dwelling. Conceptualising human mobility across borders in this way contributes to the understanding of mechanisms underlying social inequality as well as uncovering the creativity and conviviality of human beings.
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