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State-building South Sudan : discourses, practices and actors of a negotiated project ( 1999-2013)

Abstract : State-building programs supported by the international donor community since the end of the 1990s in post-conflict contexts have often been considered ineffective. Analyzing the state-building enterprise in South Sudan in a historical perspective, this thesis shows how these programs, portrayed as technical and apolitical, intertwine with the longer term process of state formation with its cumulative and negotiated character. This negotiation occurs in an arena created by the encounter between international programs and local actors. The thesis will focus on three sectors in which the “local communities” have been given an important role as right­bearing subjects: the local government reform, the delivery of basic services and the land reform. As collective rights to land, services and self-rule are managed by traditional authorities, the customary sphere overlaps with the bureaucratic sphere of the modern state, encouraging the ethnicization of South Sudanese politics. The formulation of laws and policies in these three sectors provides the “rules of the games” influencing local actors' interaction with the state, as they understand them to be necessary to gain access to state resources. Two kinds of dynamics emerge from these interactions: horizontal ethnic fragmentation and vertical patronage relationships. Discourses on administrative effectiveness and efficiency create a communal subject which contributes to re-politicize (and ethnicize) the state­building process through the appropriation of these discourses by local population and their traditional authorities.
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  • HAL Id : tel-01635763, version 1


Sara de Simone. State-building South Sudan : discourses, practices and actors of a negotiated project ( 1999-2013). Political science. Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016PA01D083⟩. ⟨tel-01635763⟩



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