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Rule of whose law? The geography of authority in Juba, South Sudan

Kindersley, Nicki 2019. Rule of whose law? The geography of authority in Juba, South Sudan. Journal of Modern African Studies 57 (1) , pp. 61-83. 10.1017/S0022278X18000629

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Abstract

This study asks: in the general absence of a functioning and effective civil administration in Juba's huge suburbs, how have people negotiated personal disputes and neighbourhood management since conflict began in 2013? Who arbitrates in Juba, and on what terms? This study challenges top-down analyses that see political-military elites managing their ethnic enclaves of followers and fighters through nepotism and gifts. Such patronage requires the complex negotiation of responsibilities and rights, including over community safety and order. In Juba, the local authorities who mediate this have been built by men and women with extensive expertise and connections in South Sudan's long history of ‘civil-military’ governance systems. These local authorities have established lasting institutions by negotiating rights to residence in, arbitrating over, and knowing the human geography of their neighbourhoods. Their authority is rooted in this deep politics, drawing on their detailed knowledge of topographies of power in these multi-ethnic, highly military neighbourhood spaces.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 0022-278X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 17 July 2020
Date of Acceptance: 17 December 2018
Last Modified: 21 Aug 2020 11:08
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/133548

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