Written by Lotje de Vries

A State of Contradiction: Sudan’s Unity Goes South

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South Sudan’s secession was either an unavoidable outcome of a post-colonial betrayal of political promises or a surprising result of muddled and contradictory developments during which, at crucial points, dynamics nonetheless aligned. It was, this chapter argues, because of these contradictions that South Sudan came into being: from its colonial past through a series of…

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South Sudan’s Civil War Will Not End with a Peace Deal

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In early 2017, the government of South Sudan declared that parts of the country had been hit by severe famine. This famine was another sign of the many ways in which a disastrous war was killing people. South Sudan had at that point been in a civil war for three years, with the humanitarian situation…

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Fettered Self-determination: South Sudan’s Narrowed Path to Secession

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The interpretation of self-determination as a vote for secession shaped the state that South Sudan has become since the 2011 referendum. Self-determination, this paper argues, is a democratic political process in which citizens determine their preferred form of statehood and nature of governance for their country. In South Sudan, however, political actors—with international support—established conditions…

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Governing Unclear Lines: Local Boundaries as a (Re)source of Conflict in South Sudan

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South Sudan’s administrative boundaries stem from the colonial period. Since it gained independence in 2011, subsequent rounds of reshuffling of the political system, internal borders, and power relations have been a source of confusion, elite manipulation, and conflict throughout the country. This paper explores the impact of this confusion by focusing on multiple shifting linkages…

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Improvising border security: ‘A situation of security pluralism’ along South Sudan’s borders with the Democratic Republic of the Congo

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This article compares two cases of securitization along South Sudan’s border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. By comparing how a security concern – the presence of the Lord’s Resistance Army – was interpreted and responded to, the article shows that border security practices in two borderscapes are improvised, contradictory and contested, and serve…

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