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African Geographical Review
Volume 30, June 2011


Special Issue
Political Violence and Armed Conflict in Africa: People, Places, Processes, Effects

Victims of Discourse: Mobilizing Narratives of Fear and Insecurity in Post-Conflict
South Sudan—The Case of Jonglei State

Ann Laudati
The sign along the border to South Sudan that reads—“Our peace, our land, our
oil, our liberty”—is a testament to the struggles recently fought by the South’s
Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) against the northern Khartoum Government.
Such a seemingly apolitical expression of southern solidarity however obscures
the often hostile relationships among the more than sixty ethnic groups in
South Sudan and denies the SPLA’s continuing role as occupiers and oppressors
even within southern territory. This article raises the question of ‘whose peace,
whose oil, whose land, and whose liberty’ is reflected in the making of a new
South Sudan. Drawing on a case study from Jonglei State, this paper examines
how the formation of a victim narrative has served to legitimize Dinka control
over and access to non-Dinka territories and resources within a complex struggle
over livelihood and material accumulation in South Sudan.

Keywords: South Sudan; identity; natural resource conflicts; livelihood struggles