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Impey, Angela (2021) 'Performing Transitional Justice: Song, Truth-telling and Memory in South Sudan.' In: Diamond, Beverley and El-Shawan Castelo-Branco, Salwa, (eds.), Transforming Ethnomusicology Volume I: Methodologies, Institutional Structures, and Policies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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This chapter examines the role of performance ethnography in development practice, focusing in particular on the contributions of ethnomusicological research to current discourses on transitional justice in post-conflict states. Inspired by the appeal by Brown (2011) for ‘imaginative transdisciplinarity’ in seeking solutions to critical social problems, it argues for greater consideration of situated cultural mechanisms of truth, justice and reconciliation in the critical interrogation of prevailing Northern legalistic justice and accountability paradigms. The chapter draws on the example of South Sudan—a country that has recently emerged from half a century of civil war with (the previously north) Sudan, but remains profoundly destabilized by internecine violence—and reflects on the role of songs in Dinka culture as judicial instruments of truth-telling, offering a locally apposite discursive space for the expression of multiple public positions and forms of agency. Correspondingly, it argues that while songs recount individual, clan or community memories in the context of Dinka social practice, they equally reveal potentially incompatible rejoinders to justice across South Sudan’s many ethnicities, underscoring the need for new epistemological pathways in the development of hybrid frameworks of public disclosure and reparative outcomes.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Arts > Department of Music
ISBN: 9780197517611
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2018 15:43

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