A Matter of Relationships: Actor-Networks of Colonial Rule in the Gezira Irrigation System, Sudan

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Abstract

In the first half of the 20th century, colonial rulers, a British firm and Sudanese farmers changed the Gezira Plain in Sudan into a large-scale irrigated cotton scheme. Gezira continues to be in use up to date. Its story shows how the abstract concept 'development' is shaped through the agency of humans and non-humans alike in government offices and muddy fields. Gezira provides a well-suited starting point for moving into the networks of development without any pre-suggested division in terms of levels, contexts or relations. Hierarchies, arenas and institutions do exist. Such power relations are associations between humans and non-humans: relatively stable relations are typically produced when non-human agency is involved, for example through books, roads, and money. The Gezira case shows the potential of actor-network theory in building and understanding of conceptual and empirical links between water, infrastructure and political rule.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-221
Number of pages18
JournalWater Alternatives
Volume9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Actor-network theory
  • material agency
  • power
  • infrastructure
  • social relations
  • Gezira scheme
  • Sudan

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