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War, displacement and return: gendered social transformations in South Sudan
This introduction addresses the ways in which flight and exile create particular types of uncertainty, including both radical and protracted, in people's lives. We argue that the concept of uncertainty, in its meaning of imperfect knowledge and the unpredictability of the future, is central to studies that theorize conflict-induced displacement, transit, and refugeeness. We start with an exploration of the spatial and temporal aspects of uncertainty in situations of displacement, and within that we discuss how uncertainty functions as a governing mechanism. We then analyze the ways that refugees and those internally displaced navigate situations of radical and protracted uncertainty. This article and those that follow in this special issue suggest that in our analysis of conflict-induced displacement, we must understand uncertainty rather than certainty as the norm.
In September 2008 1 some 30 women and girls, recently returned from displacement caused by the 22-year long civil war in Sudan, were rounded up and beaten by police in the southern Sudanese capital, Juba. Officials castigated them for their 'indecent clothing': tight trousers, miniskirts and fitted t-shirts. It was seen as evidence of a 'Nigger illicit culture' that was banned. 2
Gender mainstreaming in humanitarian programmes with forced migrants is based on a belief that such an approach will lead to greater gender equality, while raising the status of women through their ‘empowerment’. In this article, I focus on the activities of international and local humanitarian organisations in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya. I argue that the concepts of ‘gender’ and ‘women’ are often over-simplified and essentialised in gender mainstreaming, and this results in programmes which not only exacerbate gender asymmetries, but may also place women at risk.