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Contesting the militarization of the places where they met: the landscapes of the western Nuer and Dinka (South Sudan)

Pendle, Naomi (2017) Contesting the militarization of the places where they met: the landscapes of the western Nuer and Dinka (South Sudan). Journal of Eastern African Studies, 11 (1). pp. 64-85. ISSN 1753-1055

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Identification Number: 10.1080/17531055.2017.1288408


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, trade and burial. Since the government wars of the 1980s, people from both Dinka and Nuer communities have participated in a myriad of cross-cutting political alliances with a lack of ethnic homogeneity. Yet, the recreation of this landscape as a militarized no-man’s land has stopped Nuer and Dinka meeting and is etching into the landscape naturalized visions of ethnic divisions. The article also examines how inhabitants have made use of the materiality of the landscape and imagination to try to contest and co-opt these visions. In so doing, they have challenged central governments’ powers to rule the landscape and have tried to recapture power to determine community relationships. However, elite politics in times of war and peace threaten people’s ability to express this more demographic authority over the landscape, relationships and political identities.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2017 10:36
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2021 00:50

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