2004
Volume 19, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1385-1535
  • E-ISSN: 1875-7324

Abstract

The paradox of field research permits

The paradox of field research permits

This essay provides an account of the way in which permits for field research in South Sudan were obtained. It shows how, despite the fact that the new country did not have a formal procedure for researchers, doing fieldwork at South Sudans borders with DR Congo and Uganda would have been impossible without a few letters of endorsement signed by people within the South Sudanese government. This inherent contradiction is further complicated by a paradox: The security personnel at the border interpreted the letters differently than the staff in the government offices in the capital. The essay argues that the contradiction between practice and procedures and the paradox of variable legitimacies provide key insight in the everyday organization of the state in South Sudan, both in the center and in the periphery.

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2014-06-01
2021-12-09
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