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Accepted Paper:

Still studying the situation: young Ugandans figuring the future  
Lotte Meinert (Ã…rhus University)

Paper long abstract:

This paper is about Agenda, a young man in Northern Uganda, his family and friends and how they engage in the subjunctive mode; trying to 'study the future' by looking for signs in the present and decoding messages from the past.

During the civil war in Northern Uganda Agenda's family moved to a refugee camp near Gulu town. Last year, after the strife ended, the family moved back to their original home. Agenda remained in Gulu town to pursue schooling. Shortly after Agenda's father had built a home in the village, lightening stroke the house, killed his father and injured two sons. Agenda, who was the eldest son and his friend made a trip back to 'study the situation and find out what steps to take'. Rumors said people had been killed on the land and spirits were lurking around restlessly causing misfortune. Thus the skeletons should be found and taken home for burial. Some family members felt that it was all caused by building a traditional grass-thatched house. Others indicated that the crisis was caused by a land dispute and the ancestors needed consultation.

With a point of departure in this case the paper explores how young people learn to employ the subjunctive as a way of making interpretations and moving towards decisions, pretending to be in control, postponing decisions, keeping options open, trying to figure the future.

Panel W060
Skeletons in the subjunctive: challenges of studying future(s)
  Session 1