Nicola Martellozzo

The charisma of the deposed king. Reinventing traditional power in the South Sudanese conflict

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Shilluk, Reth, South Sudanese Civil War, Performance Legitimacy, Sovereignty

The reth of the Shilluk people is at the centre of a fertile and long-lasting anthropological debate on kingship and the nature of power, which extends from Frazer to Graeber. The deposition of the 34th reth, which took place amid the South Sudanese civil war, provides new and important elements. Despite the apparently outdatedness of a centuries-old institution, deeply remodelled by British colonialism, the reth has been able to relate its heritage to contemporary geopolitical events, presenting himself as a prestigious public figure and international negotiator; i.e. by resorting to a performative legitimation of its power in a context of political crisis.

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