a1 Department of History, Durham University, 43 North Bailey, Durham DH1 3EX, UK
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.
(Online publication April 26 2011)
* This article is based on oral research in Central Equatoria, Lakes and Western Bahr el Ghazal States between 2004 and 2010, together with archival and media sources. The research has been funded by an AHRC studentship, the Leverhulme Trust, the British Institute in Eastern Africa, the British Academy and consultancies with UNDP, the US Institute of Peace and the Rift Valley Institute. It has benefited greatly from comments on a much earlier conference paper in 2006 from Øystein Rolandsen, Carol Berger and John Ryle, from conversations with Naseem Badiey, Leben Nelson Moro and Rob Blunt, and from constructive suggestions on later drafts from Justin Willis, Chris Vaughan, David Moon and Dave Eaton; its failings and opinions are of course the author's own. Thanks also to the editor and to the anonymous reviewers, particularly for the latter's suggestions for future research directions raised by aspects of the paper.