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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 3.4

Future-making of the displaced: Images and narratives of South Sudanese refugees in Uganda


  • Dr. Isao MURAHASHI

Primary authors

  • Dr. Isao MURAHASHI (Kyoto University, Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies)


This presentation will address future-making and aspirations of the displaced, taking some examples of South Sudanese refugees in Uganda. Refugees are often seen as beings deprived of agency, different from ""migrants"". However, wartime migration can be induced by aspirations for 'good life' as well as life-preserving endeavors. It is often overlooked that becoming and being a refugee is a transformative experience and practice. Migration can facilitate people to obtain new opportunities, reshape their future and become agents of change. This presentation reveals how South Sudanese youth make efforts to better their life and imagine their future, connecting narratives of their life-course, everyday practices and livelihoods for survival. Here, I take a war orphan as an example. He experienced the bereavement, repeated displacement and structual disadvantages as many other orphans did. In 2014, when he took a refuge in the small town close to the camp where he was raised, he decided to start a small-scale business to earn money, borrowing a small camera from his friend. He moved up and down in and around the camp to take portrait photos of people including refugees. The aspirations of refugees are projected on the photos. They prefer the utopian or even dreamy images to 'real' one by changing the background of photos. Such images are often reflected by the image of the third countries that refugees, including him, hope to get the chance to resettle in. I discuss how displaced people plan to shape their future in contingent conditions.