Pursuing Order on Sudanese Hinterland Roads: An Ethnography of Travel Communities.

Researcher:

Rami Mohammed Ali

Research Area:

A


Transportation in Sudan is undergoing a state of transition. Huge sums have been invested in the construction of new roads within and outside urban centres during the oil boom of the past decade. This process has created a dual road regime in the country where paved roads serve urban centres in parallel with the distinguished trans-rural Sudanese hinterland roads. The Forty Days Road, an exemplification of the latter type, comprises several routes that split into unsur-faced tracks and lanes linking western and central Sudan. The road poses a constant challenge for vehicles and passengers. Lorries spend much of the journey in isolation and depend greatly on their navigators’ skills. Exposed to the will of nature and political instabilities in Darfur, the  ravel community is constantly involved in innovation, from appropriating vehicle bodies to constructing social networks along the road.


By enquiring into the spatial meanings and practices at stake, the study seeks to find the order that is built on the dialectical relation between uncertainty and innovation on the road.


The study is part of the chair of Anthropology’s larger research project “Roadside and Travel Communities – Towards an Understanding of the African Long Distance Road”.