The political potential of displacement to urban areas: How has the “ethnic discourse” transformed the culturally polarized milieu in the Sudan?


The article delves into migration within the Sudan, especially to Khartoum and other northern cities along the Blue Nile, in relation to water scarcity, livelihood insecurity, and the civil wars that resulted from the failed policies of the central government, and which disproportionately affected communities located in the broader, non-riverine zones of the Sudan. In this paper, Dr Hamid describes how the massive resettlement of rural or tribal communities to urban areas, particularly since the early 1980s, reshaped the political discourse of Sudanese elites – first by undercutting the founding “modernist” ideology of the state and replacing it with an “ethnic” discourse masked in religious rhetoric and manipulated as a source of political power, and then, more optimistically, by complicating that same ethnic discourse as more voices began to emerge and demand political representation, potentially laying the groundwork for a pluralistic future of Sudanese governance.

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Publication Type Journal Article
Year 2006
Author(s) Sommers M
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