‘I Kept My Gun’: Displacement’s Impact on Reshaping Social Distinction During Return

Naomi Pendle, Abraham Akoi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Scholarship prompted by 40 years of mass repatriations has highlighted that repatriations and returns are shaped by social navigation and renegotiation of ‘home’. This article argues that the original experience of displacement itself, and the interconnected social rupture or continuity, moderates this negotiation and has consequences for social distinction, class reproduction, and political emplacement as refugees return. Specifically, the article considers the diverse social implications of both refugee camp education and wartime militarization, and the mediation of their social consequences by the specificities of histories of initial displacement. We do this by exploring the first 10 years of socio-political struggles of men born in Southern Sudan in the 1980s who lived in Kakuma Refugee Camp (Kenya) in the 1990s and who returned to Southern Sudan after the 2005 peace agreement. The article contrasts experiences of those who were born in Greater Gogrial and Greater Bor as a way to take account of different histories of displacement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)791-812
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Refugee Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020


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