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  • Author or Editor: Simon Simonse x

Kings of Disaster

Dualism, Centralism and the Scapegoat King in Southeastern Sudan


Simon Simonse

This study of the rainmakers of the Nilotic Sudan means a breakthrough in anthropological thinking on African political systems. Taking his inspiration from Rene Girard's theory of consensual scapegoating the author shows that the long standing distinction of states and stateless societies as two fundamentally different political types does not hold. Centralized and segmentary systems only differ in the relative emphasis put on the victimary role of the king as compared with that of enemy victims. Kings of Disaster so proposes an uninvolved solution to the vexed problem of regicide. Recent cases occurring during the great drought of the mid-1980's are discribed and analyzed.
Making simultaneous use of first-hand field data and archival sources, the book offers the first presentation of five Nilotic communities on the East Bank of the Nile. This study offers a new perspective on the role of violence in the structuring of society.