Play, childhood, and playthings in Bor, South Sudan, 2009–2010

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This essay contributes to the comparative ethnography of play by reporting on children’s descriptions of play in Bor, South Sudan. By situating play within the socio-political and economic structures that organize Bor Town society it describes children’s everyday lives, critical imaginations, and experiences in a place where playfulness has been neglected by a focus on armed violence. By attending to the playful side of children’s lives in Bor, this essay does not set out to minimize the insecurities that people all ages face there, but rather to counter ideas of Dinka society as particularly prone to violence – an idea that has often served to elide the role of governments, petroleum companies, and international NGOs and financial institutions in entrenching inequality and instability in South Sudan by attributing violence to local cultural forces.

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Brendan Tuttle

Brendan Tuttle is Research Manager of the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Unit
at Forcier Consulting in South Sudan. Before he was Adjunct Associate Professor at Brooklyn College. In 2014 Dr. Tuttle received an Engaged Anthropology Grant to aid engaged activities on “New Histories for a New South Sudan: A Public Anthropology Project”.

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