State, Ethnicity & Patron-client networks: A Political Settlement Analysis of Sovereign South Sudan

Christina Aggesen

Studenteropgave: Speciale


This thesis critically scrutinies the modern state project in a non-Western Sub-Saharan African setting. In order to do so, it applies the case study method and takes as point of departure the embryonic state South Sudan, which came into being in 2011. The aim of this dissertation is to understand the processes behind the breakdown of the state and nation occurring soon after its independence. It finds that the state building project conducted with help from the UN is unable to succeed as it remains one out of three ‘logics’ abided on the ground: (1) the nation- state logic, (2) the tribal logic, and (3) the client- patron network. The conducted political settlement analysis illustrates that rent seeking in and around the state dominates and is distributed via patron-client networks. The paper concludes that a 16-month halt in oil production from 2012-2013 splintered the economic foundation of the patron-client networks and collapsed the clientelistic political settlement and hereby broke down the young state and nation.

UddannelserGlobal Studies, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato30 sep. 2015
VejledereLars Buur


  • intra-state war
  • client-patronage
  • state building
  • political settlement analysis
  • South Sudan
  • ethnicity