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Discourses of violence in the transition from colonialism to independence in southern Sudan, 1955–1960.

Rolandsen, Øystein H. and Leonardi, Cherry (2014) 'Discourses of violence in the transition from colonialism to independence in southern Sudan, 1955–1960.', Journal of Eastern African studies., 8 (4). pp. 609-625.


The Torit Mutiny of August 1955 in southern Sudan did not trigger a civil war, but state violence and disorder escalated over the following years. We explore how the outlook and strategies of the government officials who inherited the state apparatus of the Anglo-Egyptian condominium contributed to this development. They perpetuated authoritarian and violent government practices based on a legalistic distinction between citizen and outlaw, while justifying their actions as part of a developmentalist and nationalistic discourse. The Mutiny created fear of another outbreak of violence which prompted recourse to collective punishment, an expanded intelligence network and bolstered the powers and mandate of the chiefs. However, the authoritarian tendencies were paired with developmentalism and the desire to educate and civilise the southerners. Through education and the justice and penal system, they were to be ‘made to learn’ how to become ‘modern’. This combination of perpetuating colonial government practices and fervent nationalism resonates with analyses of transitions to independence elsewhere in Africa, from which the case of southern Sudan has been largely excluded up to now.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Sudan, South Sudan, State violence, Colonial inheritance, Independence.
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Publisher statement:© 2014 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis. This is an Open Access article. Non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly attributed, cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way, is permitted. The moral rights of the named author(s) have been asserted. Permission is granted subject to the terms of the License under which the work was published. Please check the License conditions for the work which you wish to reuse. Full and appropriate attribution must be given. This permission does not cover any third party copyrighted material which may appear in the work requested.
Date accepted:28 July 2014
Date deposited:13 November 2015
Date of first online publication:22 August 2014
Date first made open access:No date available

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