Sara de Simone
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Drawing on the case studies and on the arguments presented in the chapters, the conclusion shows that state formation in South Sudan is deeply influenced by the legacies of colonialism and of the civil wars of the 20th century. It argues that a focus on state formation, understood as a conflictive and cumulative process pertaining to the longue durée and to the self-serving actions of various local actors, contributes to shedding light on the actual outcome of state building. The latter constitutes a negotiation arena where many different actors pursue different objectives: international donors, driven by the liberal peace principles; local elites, moved by the desire of obtaining and consolidating their power; ordinary people, seeking for rights and entitlements that they believe to be attached to the conquest of their own independent state. Their actions contribute to the reproduction of modes of governance and of a state-society relationship that largely constitutes the essence of Southern Sudan’s statehood. In emphasizing the outcome of state-building as one of extreme ethnic fragmentation and politicization of ethnic identity, the conclusion links the process of state formation to the root causes of the current civil war.

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