Gender, Local Justice, and Ownership: Confronting Masculinities and Femininities in Northern Uganda

Authored by: Jessica L. Anderson

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Transitional Justice
Country: Uganda
Region: Sub-Saharan Africa
Year: 2009
Citation: Anderson, Jessica L. "Gender, Local Justice, and Ownership: Confronting Masculinities and Femininities in Northern Uganda." Peace Research 41, no. 2 (2009): 59-83.

Access the Resource:

Executive Summary

This article describes the livelihood structures of internally displaced men and women during Uganda’s civil war, how these livelihood structures affect femininities and masculinities, and how they inform men’s and women’s opinions on transitional justice. It argues that insecurity and deprivation in northern Uganda’s displacement camps during the country’s twenty-four years of conflict have had a significant impact on the construction of masculinities and femininities in the region. Both men and women crave agency in their daily lives following this prolonged period of displacement and disempowerment. This sense of ownership refers to different forms of communal and individual reparation and the local practice of mato oput, a restorative justice process that has been criticized as gender insensitive. Acholi men’s and women’s support for the practice of mato oput points to the need to adopt a more thoughtful perspective on gender justice that balances international values with the ideas and desires of war survivors. Acholi men and women request control and ownership over justice mechanisms as an integral part of their conception of justice. Through examining such requests, this article analyses the ways in which Acholi men and women desire ownership and how a transitional justice process can extend and bolster this ownership.