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Cambridge University Press


In one small village in western Sudan local political struggles over power and resources are enmeshed in discursive struggles over representations of gender, ethnicity, class and community. Analysis of two specific conflicts illustrates this point. In one conflict over control of a village grain co-operative some villagers sought to exclude women, West African immigrants and the poor from participating in political decision-making. In a second conflict over a roadside market these same villagers, empowered by the divisive rhetoric and policies of the National Islamic Front regime, again mobilised dominant representations of class, gender and ethnicity in an attempt to prevent marginal groups from gaining economic advantage. In both cases, villagers translated national discourses in different ways, refracting ideology to meet their specific local interests. These conflicts and fractured discourses epitomise the process of civil breakdown that has marked the tenure of the NIF regime.


Copyright © 1995 Cambridge University Press. Reprinted with permission. This is the author accepted manuscript. For the published version go to



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