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Analysis: Conflict and Aid Dynamics, Southern Sudan: Conference Paper

Analysis: Conflict and Aid Dynamics, Southern Sudan: Conference Paper

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Published by Robert Kevlihan
An analysis of political and social dynamics associated with the delivery of humanitarian aid during the 1998 famine in Bahr El Ghazal in southern Sudan.
An analysis of political and social dynamics associated with the delivery of humanitarian aid during the 1998 famine in Bahr El Ghazal in southern Sudan.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Robert Kevlihan on Sep 25, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Humanitarian Aid, Social Services and Conflict Dynamics: Exploring the case of SudanBy Robert KevlihanPh.D Candidate in International Relations,American University,Washington D.C.Paper prepared for delivery at the World International Studies Conference (WISC)First Global International Studies Conference, Bilgi University, Istanbul, Turkey,24 – 27 August 2005
Sudan is a country that has suffered from civil war for most of its almost 50 years of independence. The recent phase of the conflict began in 1983, and has been the subject of considerable analysis (for examples see (Keen 1994), (Deng 1995), (Burr and Collins1995), (Jok 2001), (Johnson 2003)). While most often portrayed as a conflict between theArab, Muslim north and Christian / Animist south, the recent upsurge in violence inDarfur has highlighted the considerably more complicated nature of political violence inSudan, with centre / periphery issues in resource allocation, extraction and exploitation,identity politics, mobilization around differences in confessional religions andsectarianism within religious denominations all contributing the the dynamics of theconflict.Humanitarian assistance has been one of the most consistent and sustainedinternational interventions with respect to the Sudanese conflict, particularly since theestablishment of Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) by the United Nations in 1989. Thisassistance has been necessitated by considerable humanitarian needs caused or exacerbated (in the case of natural disasters such as drought or floods) by the conflict andthe collapse of state provided services throughout most of the country, particularly inthose areas most affected by the war – the south, areas to the east bordering Eritrea, the Nuba Mountains and most recently Darfur.This paper seeks to explore the manner in which the provision of social services(including humanitarian aid) has been influenced the conflict itself. It breaks withexisting literature on the subject in two ways – ontologically by bracketing humanitarian2
assistance within social services more generally, rather than specifying it as a separatetype, and epistemologically by adopting a relational approach, drawing on the work of McAdam, Tarrow and Tilly (McAdam, Tarrow et al. 2001), in an effort to begin toidentify causal mechanisms that are of analytical utility to the situation in Sudan and possibly to other similar situations more generally.
 Social Service Delivery and Humanitarian Aid 
This paper frames social services to include both those services provided by the state andthose provided by non-state actors, including national and international NGOs and churchgroups. While social services is a broad term, in practice in Sudan it refers to health andnutritional services, education and housing / shelter. Framing social services to includehumanitarian aid draws on the work of both Duffield (Duffield 1999;
2001), andChandler (Chandler 2002) in their characterization of NGO activities. Both point to theeffective privatization of social welfare provision in developing states because of the debtcrisis of the 1970s and subsequent impact of structural adjustment in the 1980s, withinternational NGOs taking on increasingly longer-term commitments for service provision in weaker states. Duffield characterizes this development as part of thehollowing out of developing states, with such institutional arrangements supporting theinterests of metropolitan states through the projection of authority through non-stateactors and non-territorial networks of international assistance.However, hollowing out does not necessarily mean dissolution. As this paper demonstrates, even hollowed out states can exercise considerable influence on themanner on which services are provided. Bringing the state back in to the analysis3

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