Home Institution

University of Richmond

Publication Date

Fall 2011

Program Name

Uganda: Post-Conflict Transformation


the following essay, the researcher will explore the clan, ethnic, and national identities of the Acholi people in the context of post-conflict northern Uganda. The researcher will first describe and interpret the meaning of these identities to Acholi people he interviewed during his research, and then he will analyze them in the post-conflict, socio-cultural context of northern Uganda.

During a research period of four weeks, the researcher spent a total of twelve days in Koch Goma Sub-Country, Nwoya District conducting one-on-one interviews. During this time, the researcher was able to interview eighteen people. Data was collected and analyzed qualitatively as well as against the background of theoretical arguments from scholars of anthropology, sociology, and psychology. Unfortunately, the small population size of participants makes the extrapolation of patterns found within the data collected difficult, especially due to the under-representation of educated women in the population size. Furthermore, many of the people of Koch fled to Gulu or Banyoro land during the conflict, an uncontrollable variable that makes it more difficult to generalize these findings to all Acholi. Hence, these findings are presented as a case study of Koch Goma Sub-County.

Aside from understanding the meaning of clan, ethnic, and national identities to the Acholi interviewed, several themes became apparent: the Acholi of Koch Goma feel a sense of collective shame as a result of the conflict; the conflict has also affected how some Acholi view themselves as members of their clan and Uganda. Furthermore, protection and social utility is a major factor in determining which identity an individual expresses more over others. Lastly, travelling and interacting with the “other”—someone from another clan, tribe, or nation—affects the way in which an individual defines his identities.


Civic and Community Engagement | Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Peace and Conflict Studies | Race and Ethnicity


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