War of Visions: Conflict of Indentities in the Sudan

War of Visions: Conflict of Indentities in the Sudan

Author: 
Deng, Francis M.
Place: 
Washington D.C.
Publisher: 
The Brookings Institutions
Phys descriptions: 
xi, 577p., Maps
Date published: 
1995
Record type: 
ISBN: 
0815717938
Call No: 
32(624) DEN
Abstract: 

Identity is used in this book to describe the way individuals and groups define themselves and are defined by others on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, language, and culture. In Africa, as the case of Somalia has so tragically demonstrated, clan , lineage, and family are often vital elements of identity; territory or region as an element of identification overlaps with one or more of these factors and is therefore a complementary or an affirmative consideration. Whatever the determining factors, identity is a concept that gives a deeply rooted psychological and social meaning to the individual in the context of group dynamics. As groups vie for power, material resources, and other values, these dynamics may involve cooperation, competition, or conflict. The source of conflict lies not so much in the fact of differences as in the degree to which the interacting identities and there overriding goals are mutually accommodating or incompatible. In the context of the nation-state, conflict of identities occurs when groups, or more accurately their elites, rebel against what they see as intolerable oppression by the dominant group, often expressed in denial or recognition, exclusion from the mainstream, marginalization, and perhaps the threat of cultural annihilation or event physical elimination. Under strong and authoritarian political systems, as was the case with the colonial state, the soviet Union and the socialist countries of Eastern Europe, disaffected groups may be too oppressed to assert their demands effectively. But where the state is weak, as is the case in post-colonial Africa, or the oppressive lid is lifted, as in the former Soviet Union and in eastern Europe, ethnic an religious tensions that have long bee repressed begin to manifest themselves in violence, threatening the state with fragmentation, disintegration, and perhaps total collapse. That is the danger posed by the war of visions that has raged intermittently in the Sudan for decades.

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CITATION: Deng, Francis M.. War of Visions: Conflict of Indentities in the Sudan . Washington D.C. : The Brookings Institutions , 1995. - Available at: http://library.au.int/war-visions-conflict-indentities-sudan-3