Pragmatic Mobilities and Uncertain Lives: Agency and the Everyday Mobility of South Sudanese Refugees in Uganda

Ryan Joseph O'Byrne, Charles Ogeno
2021 Journal of Refugee Studies  
This article investigates the pragmatic, everyday journeys of South Sudanese refugees in northern Uganda's Palabek Refugee Settlement through a mobilities-focused analytical lens. Despite the repatriation of vast numbers of refugees, little is known about the diversity of refugees' later movements. Recognition of this complexity is important. Although many of our South Sudanese interlocutors take part in multiple interconnected movements both within and across borders, these are frequently
more » ... are frequently irregular and unpredictable. We define these refugees' 'pragmatic mobilities' as 'the experience and practice of multiple, distinct yet interconnected mobilities, despite trying times and unknowable circumstances', thereby attending to the fractured (dis)junctures between these journeys as well as to their full temporal and geographical scope. By setting the practice and experience of South Sudanese refugees' ongoing and everyday mobilities within wider personal and regional historical perspectives, we argue that the diversities within these refugees' 'pragmatic mobility' practices demonstrate powerful manifestations of agency. We consequently understand these movements to be essential elements within everyday—yet crucial—practices to gain and maintain personal and collective control in otherwise uncertain contexts.
doi:10.1093/jrs/feaa085 fatcat:3k36jbbp55gabco2ixmxb475nq