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The creation of Africa's newest state, South Sudan, in 2011, involved national and international recognition of "traditional authorities", or chiefs. Chiefship has often been misunderstood to be a timeless or non-state institution, but this book argues for the mutual constitution of chiefship and the state since the mid-nineteenth century, based on research in the vicinity of three towns. The book also demonstrates that while South Sudanese towns have previously been analysed as centres of alien state power, people came to the urban "frontier" to seek the resources, regulation and justice of the state. Located conceptually - and sometimes spatially - upon this frontier, chiefship became central to local relations with the state, and to state definitions of the local. The book thus addresses broader debates over the role of traditional authorities and the nature of urban-rural and state-society relations in Africa. Cherry Leonardi is a Senior Lecturer in African History at Durham University, a former course director of the Rift Valley Institute's Sudan course, and a member of the council of the British Institute in Eastern Africa Published in association with the British Institute in Eastern Africa.
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This highly readable and engaging book offers new insights into southern Sudanese experiences. COMMONWEALTH AND COMPARATIVE POLITICS [A] masterful book. GOVERNANCE IN AFRICAThis highly informed and informative volume is a great addition to the literature on state-society relations in South Sudan. ... Likely to become a measuring stick for future anthropological works on South and should also be of interest to scholars of state-society relations and traditional authorities in other parts of Africa. JOURNAL OF MODERN AFRICAN STUDIES The first thorough study that has been done on the institution of chiefships in South Sudan. [Leonardi] has laid a firm foundation for the further study of this topic by other scholars. ... This book is a valuable resource for graduate students, academics, researchers, policy makers, civil societies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF AFRICAN HISTORICAL STUDIES [Employs] a well-considered multi-disciplinary approach in tackling this lively issue and, as such, it would be of interest to students and scholars of African studies and particularly to those in the fields of anthropology, political science, history, law and economics. SUDAN STUDIES Leonardi's book will for a long time be central to any deeper understanding of political structures in the newest African country. . . . This is an important book which should be read widely among all those concerned with African history and politics, not just Sudan specialists. AFRICAN STUDIES REVIEW [Leonardi] combines an impressive mastery of the scholarship on South Sudan and Sudan, with very thorough archival research and fieldwork. At the same time, she brings to bear wide reading in related literatures, to connect the issues that she documents with broader scholarly debates. ... a quite original contribution to the study of politics and the state in modern Africa. - Professor Charles Ambler, University of Texas at El Paso

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