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Living with Bad Surroundings: War, History, and Everyday Moments in Northern Uganda (The Cultures and Practice of Violence) Paperback – February 20, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0822341918 ISBN-10: 0822341913

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Living with Bad Surroundings: War, History, and Everyday Moments in Northern Uganda (The Cultures and Practice of Violence) + When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and the Genocide in Rwanda + We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda
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Product Details

  • Series: The Cultures and Practice of Violence
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (February 20, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822341913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822341918
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,276,193 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This subtle, sensitive, and sophisticated ethnography adds enormously to our understanding of contemporary northern Ugandan society..." Mark Leopold --Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

"At times poetic, often philosophical, Finnström brings the reader to a new level of insight into war and its effects on the lived realities of affected persons..." Erin K. Baines --African Studies Review

Living with Bad Surroundings . . . [is] a very good book, perhaps the best written on northern Uganda since the 1970s. It will be an ideal text for courses dealing with Africa and the local realities of modern armed conflicts.” - Tim Allen, Times Literary Supplement


“[An] insightful, compelling ethnography. . . . Finnström has important things to say about ethnographic intimacy, the phenomenology of fieldwork, and the universality of culture as human existence. The book offers a fine example of the merits of local, detailed ethnographic knowledge for understanding civilian life in a warzone, as well as glimpses of the emotional connections an anthropologist forms with
informants and collaborators.” - Catherine Besteman, American Ethnologist


“I recommend it to anyone wanting to understand the problematic side of Africa. It reads more like the writing of a good and thoughtful war correspondent rather than a traditional social scientist. It what is useful and appropriate for understanding the world of contemporary northern Ugandans whom the author clearly liked and cared about.” - T.O. Beidelman, Anthropos


“Finnström’s analysis of the factors involved in the devastating conflict in Northern Uganda between the Ugandan government and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is a valuable contribution to the literature on contemporary armed conflicts. . . . Finnström’s careful examination is essential for students, scholars, and practitioners who want to understand the political, economic, historical, cultural, and religious complexities involved in ay armed conflict.” - Joanne Corbin, African Studies Review


“This is a moving, politically engaged and penetrating study. It has . . . page-turning qualities. . . . If you are going to read just one book on northern Uganda, this is the one to go for.” - Tim Allen, Africa


Living with Bad Surroundings is a lucid, compelling, in-depth, and detailed exploration of the vexed position of youth in poverty-stricken Africa; a painstaking and authoritative account of one of the most refractory and long-running wars on that continent; and a demonstration of how imperative it is to complement historical and political-economic explanations of Africa’s conflicts with ethnographic perspectives that encompass local symbolic reality, local readings of history and tradition, local expectations and desires, and local understandings of power, morality, and reconciliation.”—Michael Jackson, author of In Sierra Leone


“Riveting. Powerful. Evocative. Anthropology at its best. Sverker Finnström is a gifted researcher and writer: in his hands the Acholi become a lens for understanding very twenty-first-century forms of violence and survival. This is a book about one of the more destructive and bitter wars on the African continent and its global connections. But it is also a book about hope, about facing and overcoming crises—of every culture being all cultures in the opus of experience, of mango trees surviving the tides of war and global ignorance. About sorrow and laughter and moments of coevalness in northern Uganda and beyond.”—Carolyn Nordstrom, author of Global Outlaws: Crime, Money, and Power in the Contemporary World

From the Publisher

"Riveting. Powerful. Evocative. Anthropology at its best. Sverker Finnström is a gifted researcher and writer: in his hands the Acholi become a lens for understanding very twenty-first-century forms of violence and survival. This is a book about one of the more destructive and bitter wars on the African continent and its global connections. But it is also a book about hope, about facing and overcoming crises--of every culture being all cultures in the opus of experience, of mango trees surviving the tides of war and global ignorance. About sorrow and laughter and moments of coevalness in northern Uganda and beyond."--Carolyn Nordstrom, author of Global Outlaws: Crime, Money, and Power in the Contemporary World

"Living with Bad Surroundings is a lucid, compelling, in-depth, and detailed exploration of the vexed position of youth in poverty-stricken Africa; a painstaking and authoritative account of one of the most refractory and long-running wars on that continent; and a demonstration of how imperative it is to complement historical and political-economic explanations of Africa's conflicts with ethnographic perspectives that encompass local symbolic reality, local readings of history and tradition, local expectations and desires, and local understandings of power, morality, and reconciliation."--Michael Jackson, author of In Sierra Leone --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


More About the Author

Sverker Finnström is Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology, the Dept of Cultural Anthropology & Ethnology, Uppsala University. He is also the Chair of the Swedish Anthropological Association. Starting from 1997, and with a focus on young adults coming of age in the shadows of civil war, he has conducted recurrent fieldwork in Acholiland, northern Uganda, where the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and other groups have been fighting the Ugandan government.

He has authored "Living with Bad Surroundings: War, History, and Everyday Moments in Northern Uganda" (Duke University Press, 2008), for which he was honored with the Distinguished Margaret Mead Award, offered jointly by the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology.

Finnström is co-editor (with a contributed chapter as well) of "Virtual War and Magical Death: Technologies and Imaginaries for Terror and Killing" (Duke University Press, 2013).

He is also a contributing author to the following anthologies, available on Amazon:
"War, Technology, Anthropology" (Berghahn Books 2012)
"The Lord's Resistance Army" (Zed Books, 2010)
"Localizing Transitional Justice" (Stanford University Press, 2010)
"Crisis of the state" (Berghahn Books, 2009; pbk 2012)
"No peace, no war" (Ohio University Press/James Currey, 2005)
"Navigating youth, generating adulthood" (The Nordic Africa Institute, 2006)

For more information and online papers, visit Finnström on academia.edu:
http://uppsala.academia.edu/SverkerF
Or visit Uppsala University:
http://www.antro.uu.se/en/staff/sverker-finnstrom/

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Liza on November 27, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Helped prepare me for what to expect when arriving to Uganda as I worked with children with multiple disabilities. Especially those affected by famine and the war in Somalia.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ColHil on May 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
Living with Bad Surroundings is ultimately a very comprehensive text that will supply the very dedicated and interested reader or scholar with almost everything they might want to know about the conflict. If this is you, I very much recommend the book. For those who are hoping for a brief background in the conflict, or perhaps more of a day-to-day account of Finnström's life in Acholiland (which, unfortunately, is fairly lacking), this is not an appropriate read; it is rather dense and not for the casual reader.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rachel C. Unkovic on May 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
I bought this book (and many others) shortly before moving to Kitgum for four months. This was my favorite; I found this book to be interesting, informative, and unbiased.
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