LSE - Small Logo
LSE - Small Logo

Keith McDonald

July 23rd, 2015

Violence, legitimacy, and prophecy: Naomi Pendle on South Sudan

0 comments

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Keith McDonald

July 23rd, 2015

Violence, legitimacy, and prophecy: Naomi Pendle on South Sudan

0 comments

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Final-year PhD candidate Naomi Pendle has had an article published in the American Ethnologist journal. Co-written with Sharon Hutchinson from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the article identifies new opportunities for prophetic peace frameworks in South Sudan.

The prophet Gatdeang chatting on a satellite phone in his Koani, (South) Sudan, homestead, 2003. Photo credit: S. Hutchinson

Violence, legitimacy, and prophecy: Nuer struggles with uncertainty in South Sudan

Contemporary South Sudanese Nuer prophets play powerful roles in interpreting the moral limits of lethal violence and weighing the legitimacy claims of rival government leaders. Their activities remain largely invisible to external observers investigating the making and unmaking of fragile states.

Focusing on South Sudan’s tumultuous 2005–14 period, we reveal these hidden dynamics through analysis of the two most-powerful living western Nuer prophets.

Gatdeang Dit (pictured above), a male prophet of the divinity Deng, rejects all forms of violent aggression and fosters relations of peace and intermarriage with Dinka neighbors. Nyachol, a female prophet of Maani, inspires thousands of armed Nuer youth to retaliate against Dinka cattle raiders and other external threats while insisting on purification for Nuer–Nuer homicides.

Despite their differences, both prophets invoke God’s superior powers to push back against the simplified, secularized, and objectified forms of violence glorified by rival government elites.

(This early-view article is free to view and download until 30 October 2015. Read it while you can!)


Related Posts

Portia Roelofs - Development with a human face?

About the author

Keith McDonald

Posted In: Featured | Publications

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

RSS Justice and Security Research Programme

  • JSRP and the future
    The JSRP drew to a close in 2017 but many of the researchers and partners involved in the programme continue to work on the issues and theories developed during the lifetime of the programme. Tim Allen now directs the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa (FLCA) at LSE where many of the JSRP research team working […]
  • Life after the LRA
    The JSRP reached the end of its grant in spring 2017 but several outputs from the programme are scheduled for publication in the coming months. The most recent of these is a new journal article from Holly Porter and Letha Victor drawing on their extensive research with JSRP in the Acholi region of northern Uganda.  The […]

RSS LSE’s engagement with South Asia

  • Linkage between Gold and the Stock Market in India
    India is one of the biggest consumers of gold on the planet. Nufazil Altaf Ahangar shows that gold has been a better safe-haven asset for investors in the country in times of crisis than stocks and shares. He argues, therefore, that policy-makers should take steps to create a more efficient gold market in India.   […]
  • Rethinking Knowledge Production and Exchange: Perspectives from Nepal
    Can we de-centre research exercise, knowledge production and exchange from core areas to the wider community? Uma Pradhan, Nimesh Dhungana, Sara Parker, Janak Rai, Kumud Rana and Sohan Prasad Sha discuss how academic research on Nepal — whether by those based in the country or coming from outside — remains focused on core centres for […]