Dismantling the Sudanese Dictatorship: How Urbanization in Khartoum Paved the Way for Democratic Reform
CitationIbrahim, Loloa. 2019. Dismantling the Sudanese Dictatorship: How Urbanization in Khartoum Paved the Way for Democratic Reform. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractOver the last twenty years, Khartoum has seen an explosion of rural mass exodus to the urban centers which has brought about social change and created a melting pot of identities once separated by tribe, language, and distance. The relationship between urbanization and the political context in Khartoum is an area that remains largely untouched within the broader scholarship on Sudan. This research provides a nuanced analysis of urbanization in Khartoum as a new and largely unexplored trend. It asks whether urbanization has been an accelerating or decelerating force for the regime’s staying power. Ultimately, it finds a hybrid conclusion: that while urbanization strengthened the regime for almost thirty years—primarily due to the size and reach of the government’s security apparatus, extreme poverty, and the deliberate dissolution of political parties—this has been countered by the changing ethnographic makeup of the city. The youth-led popular protest of April 2019 was marked by unprecedented ethnic, class, and gender diversity that differentiated it from the elite-led, middle-class revolutions of the past. This thesis suggests that while urbanization in Khartoum benefited the National Congress Party (NCP) regime at certain intervals, it also had unforeseen consequences that ultimately accelerated regime change in Sudan.
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