Spiritual Contestations – The Violence of Peace in South Sudan
Title Details

288 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

2 maps and 5 b/w illus.

Series: Religion in Transforming Africa

Series Vol. Number: 12

Imprint: James Currey

Spiritual Contestations – The Violence of Peace in South Sudan

by Naomi Ruth Pendle

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
A fresh perspective on conflict and peace-making that highlights the cosmologies and invisible entities that state, society and religious authorities draw on to claim or reclaim legitimacy and control.

Peace-making can be a violent, arbitrary assertion of power. At the same time, the spheres of power, politics and religion are rarely discrete: when governments behave like gods through demonstrations of arbitrary violence, the remaking of moral and spiritual worlds can provide radical ways to contest the brutality of both conflict and peace. This book is an exploration of the way that Nuer- and Dinka-speaking communities living around the Bilnyang and connected river systems in Warrap and Unity States in South Sudan have experienced peace-making and conflict in an increasingly militarized South Sudan. The book traces patterns of violence in peace-making back to colonial and mercantile activities in the late 19th century, but focuses on the period since the 1980s. Challenging dominant understandings of conflict and peace centred on neo-liberal brokerage and settlements or a politics entirely driven by instrumentalist, neo-patrimonial, marketized logics, this book shows how South Sudanese authorities, particularly religious authorities, have contested the legitimacy of violence and peace by drawing on divinely inspired notions of authority and norms of conduct. Drawing on archive, ethnographic and oral history research, as well as participant observations of the elite peace negotiations since 2013, Pendle describes the peace-making efforts of a range of actors from international diplomats to chiefs, Nuer prophets and local priests, to show how peace-making in South Sudan became an instrument used by actors to build authority by reshaping rituals, remaking hierarchies and re-encoding moral protest against oppressive regimes. By recasting anthropological and historical scholarship on divine authorities and moral communities in South Sudan, this book brings a new perspective to conflict, peace and governance that will be invaluable not only to scholars but to policymakers, practitioners and NGOs.
This book is available as Open Access under the Creative Commons license CC-BY-NC.
Introduction

I Histories and Archives of Peace and Impunit
Introduction
1. Priestly Peace and the Divinity of the Gun: The coming of government in the late 19th and early 20th centuries
2. Sacred Authority and Judicial Peace: Peace-making during the Anglo-Egyptian Condominum

II. Negotiating Peace
3. Regulating the Proliferation of Divine Power: Wars 1980s-2000s
4. 'Local peace' and the Silencing of the Dead: The 1999 Wunlit Peace Meeting
5. The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement
6. The Proliferation of Conflict in Gogrial, post-2005
7. The Proliferation of Peace in Gogrial, 2005-2020
8. For Peace or Payment? The bany e bith and the logics of peace-making in Gogrial, 2005-2020
9. Cosmological Crisis and Continuing Conflict in Unity State, 2005-2013
10. Prophetic Proliferations: making Peace in Unity State, 2005-2013

III. Logics of Peace and the Shape of War
11. A War for the Dead and Wars Made by Peace
12. Prophets Making Peace: Peace-making in Unity State, post-2013
13. Peace and Unending Wars in Warrap State, post-2013
14. The Problems of Forgiveness, 2013-2020

Conclusion: The cosmic politics of peace in South Sudan

NAOMI RUTH PENDLE is a Lecturer at the University of Bath and Visiting Fellow at the Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa and the Centre for Public Authority and International Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has lived, worked and researched in South Sudan since 2009.

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9781847013385

April 2023

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9781800106581

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Title Details

288 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

2 maps and 5 b/w illus.

Series: Religion in Transforming Africa

Series Vol. Number: 12

Imprint: James Currey