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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Borders are galaxies: interpreting contestations over local administrative boundaries in South Sudan
Author:Zoe Cormack
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute (ISSN 0001-9720)
Geographic term:South Sudan
Subjects:local politics
External link:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0001972016000358
Abstract:This article explores conflicts over local administrative boundaries in South Sudan and what these reveal about relationships between pastoralist communities and the state. Drawing on research in the Gogrial region of South Sudan, it argues that conflicts over local boundaries are rooted in the existence of different border paradigms and in subsequent attempts to resolve, sometimes violently, competing moral claims on the landscape. It draws a contrast between a Dinka concept of the border as a point that is owned and the state's concept of the border as a neutral dividing line. These concepts are based on different cultural logics, but there has been a century of interpenetration as well as conflict between them. The state has tried to lay its lines over Dinka points and local people have sought to tap the power of the state by claiming authority at administrative boundaries. These complex processes of interpenetration show how rural populations negotiate with violent state power: both in the past and in the process of forming the new state of South Sudan. They also reveal how some pastoralist populations have played an active role in shaping the geography of the state. Bibliogr., notes, ref., summary in English and French. [Journal abstract]