Title

THE STATE AND SOCIOECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION IN THE SUDAN: THE CASE OF SOCIAL CONFLICT IN SOUTHWEST KURDUFAN

Date of Completion

January 1982

Keywords

Anthropology, Cultural

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

This study addresses social conflict in southwest Kurdufan. It espouses historical materialist concepts. Accepting the conventional view of conflicts as ethnically-articulated, I argue that conflicts are founded upon class relations of production. More importantly, is how and why conflicts came to be what they are. Data presented stem from a view of social transformation as necessarily involving transforming relations of production, and conflicts which such changes generate.^ In southwest Kurdufan, tribalism, ethnicity, sufism, and mystic association (the prevailing ideologies of the power structure) are not regarded as false; but are real and effective forms of socio-cultural identification and avenues in which conflict is articulated. But forms of conflict may also be read as manifestations of contradictory interests: having their genesis in historical processes determined by, and explicable in terms of production relations in situations, like the Sudanese, of rapid socioeconomic changes throughout this century. Such destabilizing changes inevitably generate conflict because of the uneven and inequal distribution of wealth.^ More recently, conflicts increased due primarily to drastic shifts from accumulation based on pre-capitalist standards of status and prestige, to accumulation of private property in money, land and animals effected by imposition of capitalist production by colonialism. After independence a national client bourgeoisie controlled State power and perpetuated dependence on imperialism and indigenous exploitation. These classes are represented locally by mercantilists, provincial bureaucrats, and tribal dynastic leaders (whose interests are no longer anchored at the local level). By analysing relations by which dominant fractions exploit rural direct producers, I argue that conflict is no longer triggered primarily by intervention of animals in cultivated plots, but between pastoralists without pasture, by class fractions in land ownership disputes, and by opposition to imposition of exploitative relations by the State and its plans for capitalist development which permit intervention of international finance institutions and multinational oil companies, and which suppress rural populations under the pretext of 'maintaining law and order'. ^