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Politics, Power and Chiefship in Famine and War: A study of the former Northern Bahr el-Ghazal state, South Sudan

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South Sudan’s civil war has spread across the country, fuelling economic collapse and food shortages, and sending millions of residents fleeing across its borders. Although the former Northern Bahr el-Ghazal State has escaped the worst excesses of the current conflict—in part because it is a supposed heartland of South Sudan’s ruling politicalmilitary elites—it is also…

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The role of transnational networks and mobile citizens in South Sudan’s global community: A pilot study focused on Melbourne and Juba

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In this study, through research undertaken both in South Sudan and in one of the most active global South Sudanese communities in Australia, the team has attempted to take a broader perspective to understand the nature of the South Sudan’s refugee communities impact on South Sudan—and the mechanisms through which it is felt—more comprehensively.

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The militarization of cattle raiding in South Sudan: how a traditional practice became a tool for political violence

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Cattle raiding, a longstanding practice among pastoralists in South Sudan, was historically governed by cultural authorities and ritual prohibitions. However, after decades of on-and-off integration into armed forces, raiders are now heavily armed, and military-style attacks claim dozens if not hundreds of lives at a time. Beginning with the emergence of the infamous Lou Nuer…

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The Religious Framing of the South Sudanese Civil Wars: The Enduring Legacy of Ngundeng’s Prophecy

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This artcile discusses how a religious idea informed the political behaviour of South Sudanese leaders in the context of civil wars and the associated bitter contest for leadership. The prophecy which is invoked in the leadership contest in South Sudan is the prophecy of the 19th century Nuer prophet, Ngundeng Bong believed to predicted the…

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“The dead are just to drink from”: recycling ideas of revenge amongst the western Dinka, South Sudan

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Governments in South Sudan have long built their authority on their ability to fashion changing regimes of revenge and compensation, war and peace. Governments’ capture of these regimes has resulted in the secularisation of compensation despite the ongoing spiritual consequences of lethal violence. This article explores these issues by focusing on the western Dinka of…

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Poisoning at the periphery: allocating responsibility across the Uganda/South Sudan borderlands

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This paper presents ethnographic evidence from three sites across the Uganda/South Sudan borderlands. At each location, procedures to identify alleged poisoners were documented. Novel voting processes were initiated by hybrid local authorities. Addressing widespread anxiety about proximate wrong-doing seemed to promote order locally. In this paper, we discuss similarities between locations and review what constitutes…

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It takes a village to raise a militia: local politics, the Nuer White Army, and South Sudan’s civil wars

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Why does South Sudan continue to experience endemic, low intensity conflicts punctuated by catastrophic civil wars? Reporters and analysts often mischaracterise conflicts in the young country of South Sudan as products of divisive ‘tribal’ or ‘ethnic’ rivalries and political competition over oil wealth. More nuanced analyses by regional experts have focused almost exclusively on infighting…

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The Spectacle of Death: Visibility and Concealment at an Unfinished Memorial in South Sudan

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This article examines an attempt to build a memorial to local victims of civil war in South Sudan. The memorial commemorates the mass execution of civilians in 1964, close to the town of Gogrial in a rural part of South Sudan. During this massacre, local people were killed and their bodies piled up into a…

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Contesting the Militarization of the Places Where They Met: the Landscapes of the Western Nuer and Dinka (South Sudan)

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Decades of militarized, violent conflict and elite wealth acquisition have created a common rupture in shared landscapes between communities of the western Dinka and Nuer (South Sudan). Through the remaking of these landscapes, governments and their wars have indirectly reshaped political identities and relationships. Networks of complex relationships have used this space for migration, marriage,…

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CSRF SOUTH SUDAN