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Against HumanityLessons from the Lord's Resistance Army$
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Sam Dubal

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520296091

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520296091.001.0001

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Rebels and Charity Cases

Rebels and Charity Cases

Politics, Ethics, and the Concept of Humanity

(p.178) 6 Rebels and Charity Cases
Against Humanity

Sam Dubal

University of California Press

Chapter 6 engages recent debates in anthropologies of humanitarianism and human rights that argue that categories like “victim” and “charity case” deny actors their political agency and reduce them to bare life. By examining how LRA rebels remained political militants even as they accepted charity and humanitarian aid, this chapter shows how these debates ignore how rebels speak in the trenches of these discourses. Their experiences expose “humanity” as a concept historically constructed in the opposition of the “ethical” and the “political.” In Acholiland, “ethics” and “politics” had different meanings and could coexist. Rebels accordingly exposed humanity as a premature fixer of political and ethical meaning, precluding dynamism and multiplicity of meaning in a global society in uncertain flux.

Keywords:   agency, politics, ethics, charity, victimhood, Lord’s Resistance Army, humanity, humanitarianism, human rights, bare life

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