Coalescence and Conflict: Hybrid Intervention against the Lord's Resistance Army in Central Africa

  • Joshua Shurley

Student thesis: Phd


AbstractJoshua ShurleyUniversity of ManchesterFor the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)March 2016"Coalescence and Conflict: Hybrid Intervention against the Lord's Resistance Army inCentral Africa"There has been a growing acknowledgment that external interventions into the GlobalSouth too often fail to account for local agency, which has inspired innovativeapproaches seeking to better understand the processes of engagement between 'topdown'and 'bottom-up' forces that go beyond liberal peace discourses. Related to thesediscourses, recent years have seen a resurgence of strategic interest in Africa by theUnited States, as characterised by the creation of the US military's Africa Command(AFRICOM). Regional institutions such as the African Union may be instrumental inlegitimising the work of interveners, as is the increasing role of globally-networked civilsociety groups. One such undertaking is the multinational effort to eliminate theUgandan rebels known as the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and protect civilians inCentral Africa.This thesis focuses on the regional Counter-LRA initiative, and critically examines bothits military and civilian components, as well as the AFRICOM activities which areresponsible for training and advising the bulk of the African Union's (mostly Ugandan)military task force. I employ the conceptual framework of hybridity in order to assessasymmetric power relations between and among the various actors involved. Thisresearch addresses a lack of scholarship that has failed to account for the livedexperiences of locals currently affected by the LRA conflict and its internationalresponse. Moreover, it explores the political and historical context from which this effortoriginates--the considerable US military aid provided to Uganda.My arguments are threefold: 1) Despite the predominant academic critiques to thecontrary, current Counter-LRA efforts are both militarily effective and locally legitimate;2) In stark contrast, the US-Ugandan security relationship has deleteriousconsequences inside Uganda in terms of human rights and democratic accountability;3) The role of civil society is a determining factor both in the emancipatory nature ofCounter-LRA activities and why it differs from authoritarian trends in Uganda. Thisresearch contributes to broader understandings of the tensions between the liberalpeace in Africa and the militarisation of US-Africa policy. Additionally, it provides anopportunity to assess the utility of the conceptual framework of hybridity against robustempirical fieldwork.
Date of Award1 Aug 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPiers Robinson (Supervisor) & James Pattison (Supervisor)


  • critical security
  • Uganda
  • LRA
  • Hybridity
  • Africa

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