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Paying 'buckets of blood' for the land : moral debates over economy, war and state in Southern Sudan.

Leonardi, Cherry (2011) 'Paying 'buckets of blood' for the land : moral debates over economy, war and state in Southern Sudan.', Journal of modern African studies., 49 (2). pp. 215-240.


This paper challenges the prevailing focus on ethnic division and conflict in Southern Sudan in recent years, demonstrating that even within ethnically divisive debates over land, there are shared, transethnic levels of moral concern. These concerns centre on the commodification and monetisation of rural and kinship resources, including human life itself, epitomised in ideas of land being bought with blood, or blood being turned into money by the recent wartime economy. It argues that the enduring popular ambivalence towards money derives not only from its commonly observed individualising properties, but also from the historical association of money with government. Southern Sudanese perceive historical continuity in government consumption and corruption, and express concern at the expansion of its alternative value system into rural economies during and since the war. Whilst seeking to access money and government, they nevertheless continue to employ a discursive but powerful dichotomy between the moral worlds of state and kinship.

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Publisher statement:© Copyright Cambridge University Press 2011. This paper has been published by Cambridge University Press in "Journal of modern African studies" (49: 2 (2011) 215-240)
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:25 May 2011
Date of first online publication:June 2011
Date first made open access:No date available

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