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„Juba ist unser Ort“ – Politics of Place im neuen Südsudan

Ulrike Schultz


Schlagwörter: Südsudan, Bari, Zugehörigkeit(en), Repatriierung, Ort


“Juba is our place” – The Politics of Place in the New South Sudan.


The history of the politics of place in South(ern) Sudan, in which certain places have been assigned to specific groups of people, is long and has been accompanied by ethnicized violence. Starting with the colonial ethnic classification system, the post-colonial politics of place were reinforced by the policies of repatriation, which were implemented by International Organizations after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005. Refugees and displaced people have been assigned to specific places to which they are supposed to return. Accordingly South(ern) Sudanese living in the city of Khartoum have been constructed as displaced people – as people who are “out of place” and need to be “put in place”. The  assumption that people belong to certain places is reflected in the debate on Juba, the capital of the new South Sudan state. Different groups are claiming that “Juba is our place” and, thereby, are referring to different forms of belonging. Based on fieldwork conducted in Khartoum, Juba and Kakuma from 2006-2012, this paper takes the case of the Bari people. By highlighting different forms of belonging, this paper argues that there are different ways of imagining Juba. Juba is conceptualized as the place of
the Bari people but it is also the place where the nation of South Sudan is imagined. Furthermore, places are not only places of identification but also physical locations in which people have experiences, create social relations and make memories. In the context of South Sudan, the different ways in which Juba is perceived are often contradicting. Finally, it can be observed that daily experiences within concrete places often become invisible and are superimposed by powerful discourses on belonging.

Keywords: South Sudan, Bari, politics of belonging, repatriation, place


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