Dealing with Government in South Sudan: Histories of Chiefship, Community and State [Hardback]

Dr. Cherry Leonardi(Author)

ISBN: 9781847010674 | Published by: James Currey | Series: Eastern Africa Series | Volume: 16 | Year of Publication: 2013 | 271p, H8.5 x W5.5, 8 b/w. 1 line.
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Dealing with Government in South Sudan


South Sudan became Africa's newest nation in 2011, following decades of armed conflict. Chiefs - or 'traditional authorities' - became a particular focus of attention during the international relief effort and post-war reconstruction and state-building. But 'traditional' authority in South Sudan has been much misunderstood. Institutions of chiefship were created during the colonial period but originated out of a much longer process of dealing with predatory external forces. This book addresses a significant paradox in African studies more widely: if chiefs were the product of colonial states, why have they survived or revived in recent decades? By examining the long-term history ofchiefship in the vicinity of three towns, the book also argues for a new approach to the history of towns in South Sudan. Towns have previously been analysed as the loci of alien state power, yet the book demonstrates that thesegovernment centres formed an expanding urban frontier, on which people actively sought knowledge and resources of the state. Chiefs mediated relations on and across this frontier, and in the process chiefship became central to constituting both the state and local communities.

Cherry Leonardi is Senior Lecturer in African History at Durham University, a former course director of the Rift Valley Institute's Sudan course, and a member of the council of the British Institute in Eastern Africa

Published in association with the British Institute in Eastern Africa.

Table of Contents

Introduction: the making of chiefship, state and community in South Sudan - PART I: From zariba to merkaz: the creation of the nodal state frontier, c. 1840-1920
Frontier societies and the political economy of knowledge in the nineteenth century
Colonial frontiers and the emergence of government chiefs, c. 1900-20 - PART II: From makama to mejlis: the making of chiefship and the local state, 1920s-50s
Constituting the urban frontier: chiefship and the colonial labour economy, 1920s-40s
Claiming rights and guarantees: chiefs' courts and state justice, c. 1900-56
Containing the frontier: the tensions of territorial chiefdoms, 1930s-50s
Uncertainty on the urban frontier: chiefs and the politics of Sudanese independence, 1946-58 - PART III: From malakiya to medina: the fluctuating expansion of the urban frontier, c. 1956-2010
Trading knowledge: chiefship, local elites and the urban frontier, c. 1956-2010
Regulating depredation: chiefs and the military, 1963-2005
Reprising 'tradition': the mutual production of community and state in the twenty-first century
Knowing the system: judicial pluralism and discursive legalism in the interim period, 2005-10

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