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Portrait: Marianne Bach Mosebo

PhD Title:

Strategies of (in)coherent lives. Urban Karimojong Youth between Security and Development in Uganda.

Marianne Bach Mosebo

PhD student, University of Copenhagen, Department of Anthropology, Affiliated with DIIS DK.


This Phd-study will focus on how urban youth form and act out livelihood strategies in the fragile region of Karamoja in Uganda.

Uganda is internationally considered a stable state, however Karamoja has a status as a ”special” region due to its immense poverty and insecurity. The Karimojong are considered brutal, primitive or even beyond development, mainly due to the effects of their pastoral lifestyle, incl. cattle rustling. The state policies of intervention in the area have primarily focused on securing security and ”pacifying” the Karimojong.

In 2008, the Ugandan state launched a policy promising coherence on issues of security and development. The project will investigate how state interventions affects urban youth in Karamoja, whom do not lead pastoral lives, and the possibilities these leave for the youth to develop livelihood strategies. Urban youth are interesting in regards to security and development policies. They are potential resources in and mediators for development, as their ambitions lie within employment and education, however, if they perceive the state interventions as malevolent rather than benevolent, they may also become security risks.

Therefore, the project will look into how the state “message” is put forward and how interventions are carried out and perceived. Ms Mosebo will do ethnographic fieldwork using qualitative methods amongst the urban youth. Furthermore, she will interview state representatives to gain insights into the rationale of interventions.

Supervisors:Henrik Vigh, Lecturer at Institute of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen, and, Finn Stepputat, Senior Researcher at Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS).

Financed period:

1/1-2011 til 31/12-2013

Funding source:


Comments on content: 
Revised 02.05.2012

The ENRECA-Gulu University is a DANIDA funded project based in the city of Gulu in Northern Uganda.