Sowa, Katrin (2017). Street-Level Bureaucrats and Passport Networking. Practices of Immigration Law Enforcement in Northern Uganda. Masters thesis, Universität zu Köln.

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The former conflict-torn area of Northern Uganda has only recently developed into a ‘safe haven’ for refugees from South Sudan. At the same time, Ugandan state officials picture inner-African migration as a threat to the internal security of the country, and to its Northern region in particular. This thesis is based on an ethnographic study in Northern Uganda and aims to describe how the Ugandan state tries to manage and control the movements of immigrants. Law enforcement practices are illustrated and analysed in case of passport control interactions. Police and immigration officers categorize people into citizens, migrants, refugees or as illegal by making use of documents in addition to digitalised personal data. For this categorization work they further require embodied skills, knowledge and networks that they can rely on. These networks are established between various state institutions. But they also appear informally between officers and immigrants, and often involve payments that are commonly referred to as corruption. This study tries to understand networking practices from an emic point of view, whereby it combines perspectives from multiple actors. On the one hand, it presents state agents and various challenges they face during work, while on the other hand it portraits the experiences of inner-African immigrants in Northern Uganda. All in all, the thesis concludes that while the Ugandan state tries to maintain the security of the country through new policies, their practical implementation often increases the insecurity of immigrants.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters thesis)
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Corporate Contributors: Cologne African Studies Centre
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-78938
Series Name at the University of Cologne: Culture and Environment in Africa Series
Volume: 10
Date: 2017
ISSN: 2194-1556
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Fächergruppe 4: Außereuropäische Sprachen, Kulturen und Gesellschaften > Institut für Ethnologie
Subjects: Customs, etiquette, folklore
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Uganda, Immigration, Border region, Bureaucracy, Corruption, MA thesisEnglish
Uganda, Immigration, Grenzregion, Bürokratie, Korruption, MasterarbeitGerman
Date of oral exam: 2017
NameAcademic Title
Bollig, MichaelProf. Dr.
Refereed: Yes


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