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Disrupting Territories

Disrupting Territories: Land, Commodification and Conflict in Sudan

Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 251
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  • Book Info
    Disrupting Territories
    Book Description:

    Pastoral societies are increasingly shaped by external forces and dynamics. While celebrations in Juba marked the birth of the new Republic of South Sudan in 2011, conflicts have continued to erupt both within and between the Sudans over access to land and resources: borders are contested, territorial claims challenged by small-scale and international actors, contracts governing the extraction of resources often lack transparency and are contentious, and the legal entitlements to agricultural land are disputed. Under this new dynamic of land grabbing, the fundamental relationship between people and land has been disrupted: while the right to land has become a global commodity, for rural people land both forms their identity and constitutes their most important source of livelihood. This book explores the structural conditions that mould pastoral livelihoods in the two Sudans.The first part of the book develops a history of the political economy of the pastoral sector and looks at the impact of resource extraction: Chinese investments in oil production, competition between artisanal and industrial gold mining, and foreign agricultural land acquisitions. The regional case studies in the second part look at how specific pastoral groups have experienced the new land-grab: the impact of developmental interventions, such as enforcing administrative boundaries; loss of land to mechanized agriculture and large-scale energy projects; the consequences of disenfranchisement for nomadic households; the influence of claims of tribal autochthony on territorial negotiations, and assess the role of territorial disruption in the spread of insecurity, migration and flight. Jörg Gertel is Professor of Economic Geography at Leipzig University; Richard Rottenburg is Chair of Anthropology at the University of Halle; Sandra Calkins is a research associate in Social Anthropology at the University of Leipzig.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-263-1
    Subjects: Anthropology, Business, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Maps & Tables
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. viii-ix)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. x-x)
  6. List of Abbreviations & Glossary
    (pp. xi-xi)
  7. Notes on Transliteration
    (pp. xii-xii)
  8. 1 Disrupting Territories: Commodification and its Consequences
    (pp. 1-30)

    On 9 July 2011, the world looked on as many Sudanese, hopeful and delirious with joy, danced in the streets of Juba celebrating the independence of the Republic of South Sudan. The day’s cheerful festivities stood out in a region that is regularly reported on in terms of dejection and gloominess. The drawing of international borders separating South Sudan from Sudan is the most dramatic of territorial reorganizations in the region. It has strong repercussions for people, but especially for those living in the immediate border regions. Uncertainty prevails as both Sudans look into the future.

    The initially hopeful expectations...

  9. 2 Agricultural Investment through Land Grabbing in Sudan
    (pp. 31-51)

    This chapter traces different phases of land appropriation in Sudan and highlights the enormous amount of land that has been reallocated since colonial times (1898–1956). Furthermore, it discusses the legal instruments used for this ‘land grab’ and the rationale explicitly put forward for such actions. Despite the strategy of developing the agricultural sector to spearhead the country’s overall development, outcomes have been modest and, as I will suggest, the rural poor shouldered its costs disproportionately. National governments, nonetheless, pursuing development but also eager to satisfy their own need for foreign currency, have continued to foster large-scale investments in mechanized...

  10. 3 Territories of Gold Mining: International Investments and Artisanal Extraction in Sudan
    (pp. 52-76)

    With South Sudan’s secession in mid-2011, Sudan was plunged into an economic crisis by the loss of most of its oil resources to the new state. Land and the ability to contract usage rights for land surface and subterranean resources have turned into an important source of revenue for the Government of Sudan. In this chapter, we complement the contributions on disrupting territories which deal with land surface by peering into negotiations over the exploitation of subterranean resources – namely gold.¹

    In recent years the government allocated land parcels of various sizes for gold mining, whereby the largest areas were allotted...

  11. 4 Oil, Water and Agriculture: Chinese Impact on Sudanese Land Use
    (pp. 77-101)

    China is not a new actor in Sudan and Chinese interests in Sudanese resources compete with those of many international stakeholders. Their recent large-scale interventions in the land-based resource systems of oil, water and agriculture dramatically impact on the livelihoods of thousands of nomads and farmers (cf. Large & Patey 2011, Pantuliano 2010).

    This chapter adds to recent studies by reviewing official documents, scientific publications, and corporate information published in Chinese¹ and by analysing how they discuss large-scale projects. It focuses on Chinese interventions that are shaping settlement, farming and grazing land in Sudan. As previous scholarship has shown, the...

  12. 5 Nomad-Sedentary Relations in the Context of Dynamic Land Rights in Darfur: From Complementarity to Conflict
    (pp. 102-120)

    The relationship between pastoral nomads and sedentary farmers in the savannah dry-lands of Africa has often been depicted as one of ‘polarized opposition’ between typical ‘herders’ and typical ‘farmers’. However, in reality one seldom finds communities representing such exact types.¹ The interaction between pastoralists and farmers is so complex that it cannot be adequately understood by using a simple herder/farmer dichotomy. Depending on varying situations such interaction can involve cooperation and complementarities and/or competition and conflict.

    Fredrik Barth has suggested three alternative ways to analyse nomadsedentary relations in the Middle East: understanding nomadic societies in their relations to their total...

  13. 6 Sedentary-Nomadic Relations in a Shared Territory: Post-Conflict Dynamics in the Nuba Mountains, Sudan
    (pp. 121-151)

    Sudan’s civil war (1983–2005) is the longest and bloodiest conflict in postcolonial Africa. Though land was not a prime factor of the war in southern Sudan, it was one of the key causes of its extension into northern Sudan (see Komey 2009a, 2009b, 2010a, 2010c). As detailed elsewhere (Komey 2010b) the extension of the war from the south to the Nuba Mountains region from the mid-1980s was the greatest event in the region’s recent history. It reshaped its entire public space and brought about new dynamics with significant repercussions on the historical, political, economic and territorial relationships between the...

  14. 7 Entangled Land and Identity: Beja History and Institutions
    (pp. 152-179)

    This contribution highlights the interconnections between land as a source of livelihood and land as a source of identity from the perspective of ‘the Beja’ in Eastern Sudan. But who are ‘the Beja’? The chapter traces how nomadic people with claims to certain territories in Eastern Sudan came to be identified as Beja. Foreign interests in Beja territory have a long historical trajectory: Egyptian pharaohs, Roman and Arab armies have all invaded to extract gold and mineral resources. The territory later formed part of the pilgrimage route to Saudi Arabia, which led to multiple foreign contacts and intermarriages. Under colonial...

  15. 8 Gaining Access to Land: Everyday Negotiations and Rashaida Ethnic Politics in North-eastern Sudan
    (pp. 180-205)

    In view of recent foreign interests in Sudan’s arable land and its subterranean resources, the hold of rural people over this crucial resource is insecure. Land is not only a productive resource for rural people, but also in principle enables an access to other spatially fixed state resources, such as education, water and health services. This chapter analyses how landless pastoral people, ‘the Rashaida’, articulated a need for land and gained an access to it. Their classification as a newcomer tribe without a homeland (dar), based on their immigrant and occupational backgrounds, profoundly affected how these people organize access to...

  16. 9 Hausa and Fulbe on the Blue Nile: Land Conflicts between Farmers and Herders
    (pp. 206-225)

    Upon learning about a conflict between Hausa and Fulbe, the reader might feel transferred to the times of the ‘Fulani jihad’ in the early nineteenth century in what was later to become northern Nigeria. But indeed, we are talking about the Blue Nile area, more particularly the stretch of semi-arid land that the Blue Nile traverses after coming out of its gorge in the Ethiopian Highlands and pours into the Sudan. We and others have summarized how West Africans have come to the Sudan elsewhere (Abu-Manga & Miller 2005, Delmet 2000, Feyissa & Schlee 2009, Schlee 2000, 2009). Here it...

  17. 10 A Central Marginality: The ‘Invisibilization’ of Urban Pastoralists in Khartoum State
    (pp. 226-244)

    In Sudan, as well as in various African and Middle Eastern countries where nomadic groups are historically important, state officials and other actors tend to underestimate figures of nomads or populations with pastoral origin. For decades pastoralism¹ has been shown as in decline. However, there is still a need to reassert the persistence of nomadic pastoralism both at the socio-demographic and economic level (Casciarri & Ahmed 2009). The ecological features of the Sudan and its late and limited process of urbanization point to the viability and sustainability of pastoralism, despite strong pressures working against this complex socio-economic formation.

    This chapter...

  18. INDEX
    (pp. 245-255)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 256-257)