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Title: The Yira cold war : secessionism, authority and imagined futures in the Uganda-Congo borderlands
Author: Beevor, Eleanor
ISNI:       0000 0004 7232 8662
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis examines secessionist sympathy and activity in the borderlands of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo, which stems from the historical legacy of the secessionist Rwenzururu Movement. The Rwenzururu Movement led to a quasi-independent, albeit unrecognised, kingdom-state in the Rwenzori mountains from the 1960s-1980s, led by the charismatic 'king' and 'president' Isaiah Mukirania. Today, many Bayira people (a name that refers to the cultural unity between the Bakonzo of Uganda and the Banande of Congo) continue to aspire to, and act towards the creation of a Yira State. This thesis contends that understanding a secessionist movement requires a dual emphasis on the construction of the "nation" as a community with a shared and idealised identity, and on the "state", the apparatus of governance itself. This is because the realm of state "politics" is viewed as an amoral domain of ruthless, individualist power grabs, a realm that is intrinsically threatening to the moral identity of the national body. This dual moral association reflects more broadly onto the behaviours and products associated with the "cultural" or the "foreign", the former being moral and in need of revival, and the latter being morally circumspect, but nevertheless necessary to the political and technological transformation that they desire for their futuristically imagined nation-state. The thesis follows the construction of these two domains by myriad authority figures, and examines how the Bayira tactically manage the opportunities and dangers associated with combining these morally antonymic but mutually dependent domains. This pattern is analysed through an adaptation of Ekeh's (1975) "two publics" theory. This case demonstrates that for all the weaknesses assumed of the nation-state in the 21st Century, it continues to be a desirable imaginable construct for self-determination, yet remains susceptible to local adaptations.
Supervisor: Pratten, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available