The subfield of food and eating practices has registered a significant volume of theoretical and empirical studies. However, there is very limited research targeting non-state armed groups. This article contributes to understanding the nuanced role of food and eating practices (or commensality) in conflict, and its significance in the construction and sustenance of sense of community in non-state armed groups that use particularly elaborate means of indoctrination to build a following. Drawing on the case of northern Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) that thrived on mass abduction of children, youth and women between 1987 and 2008, this article argues that being a member of the LRA entailed taking part in its meticulously planned and well-structured food and eating practices. The article further argues that this was an important contributor to the transformation of recruits into followers with a strong sense of community.

Author Bio(s)

Eunice Otuko Apio received her PhD in African studies and anthropology from the Department of History and Cultures, the University of Birmingham (UK) in 2016. In 2017, she joined the Law School, University of Birmingham, as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Gender and Transitional justice (from September 2017 - August 2022), and continues to associate with the University as a Honorary Research Fellow at the School at Arts and Law. She has contributed book chapters and articles to several journals about armed conflict, conflict related sexual violence, children born of war, gender, kinship, and transitional justice. She is also a novelist.


Food and commensality, conflict, Lord’s Resistance Army, non-state armed groups, northern Uganda



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