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Felix da Costa, Diana, Pendle, Naomi and Tubiana, Jerome (2022) '‘What is happening now is not raiding, it's war’: The growing politicisation and militarisation of cattle-raiding among the Western Nuer and Murle during South Sudan's civil wars.' In: Bach, Jean-Nicolas, Abbink, Jon and Ancel, Stephane, (eds.), Routledge Handook of the Horn of Africa. London: Routledge.

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Drawing on extensive fieldwork by the three authors, this chapter discusses how contemporary political conflicts have interacted with pastoralism. It focuses on the contrasting but interrelated settings of the Western Nuer and Murle peoples of South Sudan. The chapter argues that government and rebel forces have increasingly used cattle-raiding as a deliberate tactic in their wars, mimicking repertoires of violence perpetrated by Khartoum in the 1980s and 1990s. For the current instigators and perpetrators of these cattle raids, as well as for those targeted, cattle-raiding is not just an attack on the material viability of these communities and their fragile livelihood systems. As cattle have spiritual, moral and social significance, raids are a specific repertoire of violence that amount to an attack on the communities’ social fabric, and sources of moral and spiritual certainty. Cattle raids in wars have wiped out whole herds, leaving communities destitute not only materially but also morally and spiritually. The meaning and consequences of cattle-raiding as a repertoire of violence are context specific and literature on patterns of violence needs to take into account the variations that one form of violence can have in different contexts and social, moral and spiritual settings.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Development Studies
ISBN: 9780429426957
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2022 09:22

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