Title: Between 'Place' and 'Non-Place': Settlement and Displacement in Sudan (Tussen plaats en niet-plaats: nederzetting en verplaatsing in Sudan)
Other Titles: Between 'Place' and 'Non-Place': Settlement and Displacement in Sudan
Authors: Motasim, Hanaa
Issue Date: 2-May-2012
Abstract: Sudan is a country that has witnessed huge population displacements, some due to natural causes and others due to a multitude of ill-devised government policies. The worst form of displacement the country witnessed however has been war-related displacements which have been devastating both in terms of scale and effect. An estimated 6 million were reported to have been displaced in 2005 due to the war in the southern and western part of the country, this was reported as the highest number worldwide and which constituted 14% of the country’s total population. All this places Sudan on the map as the country of displacement par excellence with millions of displaced trekking its vast terrain in search of a suitable place to relocate, or a better place to position themselves. As a result of these multiple and compounded displacements the country needs to come to terms with what is at hand, what is jeopardized and what opportunities are being developed. In these extreme conditions queries arise concerning notions of settlement, questions such as what does ‘place’ and ‘home’ mean in such a country and to whom? In this thesis we endeavor to understand how displacement may affect and redefine such notions, hypothesizing on whether something can be made out of the outcome.Displacement in Sudan has certainly been too broad a topic which has succeeded in attracting the interest of historians, political scientists, environmentalists, and a great number of international development and humanitarian organizations. Scholars such as Johnson, De Waal, Mamdani, Tigani and Carloyn Fluehr-Lobban, have produced a corpus of literature concerning this subject. In all this architects and urbanists have hardly had a say, this comes as rather unusual given the fact that most of these displacements are played out and have their greatest impacts on urban settlements. In this dissertation we attempt to fill this gap, our attempt however is not exclusive of what has already been done but rather stitches together the different disciplines that have tackled this subject bringing them together in a singular work. The spatial dimension is used here as the thread which binds these disparate and vast disciplines together, and our two cases, that of Khartoum and Yei, are used as the platform for their engagement. All the disciplines presented seem to converge in the two cases, clearly illustrating the extent of, and the multiplicity and complexity of the manifestations that result out of displacement. The underlying questions in this dissertation therefore are concerned with the meanings of place and home, and the techniques developed to reconstitute these meanings in circumstances far from the ordinary. We question the links between place and home, identity and territoriality, wealth and investments; how these concepts are played out in conditions of displacement, and how they might come to affect the postwar urbanism that begins to emerge.
Table of Contents: Table of Contents


Chapter 1 – Literature Review
Displacement within the discipline of Anthropology
Displacement within Refugee Studies and IDP studies
The Refugee Camp: Spatial confinement or an opening of possibilities?
Between the camp and city
IDP studies
Is there an end to displacement?
Architecture and Displacement
The Phenomenology of Place
Non-Place, The Generic City and Movement in the African Metropolis
Between Place and Non-Place

Chapter 2 – Sudan
Borders and Displacement
The Nile and its Patterns of Displacement
Forming Connections Between Riverscape and Peoples
The Nilotics: A Lifestyle Structured By Movement
Nilotes – Dinka and Nuer
Ecology and Patterns of Movement
A Mobile Lifestyle Suited for a Changing Landscape
Daily and Seasonal Movements
The Cycle of Seasons and its Impact on the Settlement Patterns
Material Culture in Conditions Of Mobility
Personification – Cattle (Mobile Property) as an Extension of One’s Identity
Gender Relations and Place Identification
The History
Invasion – A Lifestyle Pattern Suited for Resistance
1821 – 1881 - The Arrival of The Turks
1881-1898 - The Sudanese Revolution (The Mahdi)
1898 – 1956 - The British Colonization
1956 - Independence and The First Civil War
1973-1983 - The Addis Ababa Agreement
‘The Bread-Basket’ Project and Subsequent Displacements
Displacing Borders – The Question of Oil
Water and Possible Displacements
1983 – 2005 Second Civil War, Displacement As A Strategy
Displacement Patterns
Displacing The Displaced
The CPA, The Referendum and the Future
Fragile Urbanities
Weakened Infrastructure
Urban Demographic Explosions
Political Dimensions
Social Dimension
Economic Dimension
Khartoum – Keeping The Links?
The Referendum – The Creation Of A New State
South Sudan – The Present And The Future (Challenges And Hopes)
Which Way Forward?
Illusory Expectations And Harsh Realities
Tensions – Displaced Borders
Cattle Raiding
Territorial Domination And Expansion
Expectations of Further Conflict

Chapter 3 – Khartoum


Part I

4000 BC – 1500AD _ NS axis – The Egyptianization of riverine northern Sudan?
1500 AD -1820 - WE connections - Sudanese Islamic Urbanization – The Funj Sultanate
The structure of the Sultanates
A specific African/Arab/Islamic urbanization
1821-1885 – re-establishing the NS links - Turco-Egyptian Period
1885-1898 – revival of the WE axis - Mahdist Period
1898-1956 – NS axis strengthened – Anglo-Egyptian Condominium
Situating the Plan of Khartoum
Khartoum and the cotton industry
Planning Khartoum
Growth of the Town
The Fabric, the spaces and the Iconic structures
Connectivity and Growth
1956-1980 - Omdurman a seat for Nationalism and Khartoum in search for itself – The Tri-capital as a multilayered entity
Omdurman a seat for Nationalism
Khartoum – a capital in search for itself
A Reading of the Tri-capital as an ‘inclusive unity’

Part II
Khartoum and the Islamic Project
An attempt at purging the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious fabric
Public space and its reinvention
Substituting the public space
Purging the colonial fabric
Khartoum – the city of displacement par excellence
Khartoum – conditions at the time of displacement
A different focus
Pre-war conditions – Perception of southerners in Khartoum and a history of urban exclusions
War and post war period – Khartoum and Mass Displacement
Impositions and messages of Exclusion
The Field
Methods and approach
Fieldwork Sites
Relocation Sites vs. Squatter Settlements
Dar el Salaam
Hillat Sillik – Mayo
Spatial Differences between Dar el Salaam and Hillat Sillik
Gaps and ambivalences
Writing on the Wall
Carefully picked and well placed furniture
Signs of Modernity?
Identity markers
Gap Closed – Elizabeth, wife of the Sultan
Possible Interpretations
Identities and Representation

The City Centre – Staging a Presence?
The City Centre – Qasr Avenue
Gender Differences – Home, a place of vulnerability?
The Shopping Street – Naivasha:
The Church
The Cinema
The Missionary Night School ‘Comboni and the The Sports Field ‘Comboni Playground’
The City as a Chessboard?
Home and Displacement
Post CPA

Chapter 4 – Yei

History of Urbanization
The War
End of the war
Population explosion
Land Prices
Neighbourhood profiles
Planning the town for the future
Actors in the planning process
The Dinka and the SPLA
Hostilities and exclusions
Habitation patterns
Home Interviews

Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: TH
Appears in Collections:Research Group Urbanity & Architecture (OSA) (-)
Institute for Anthropological Research in Africa

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