Druckansicht der Internetadresse:

Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies - BIGSAS

Print page


Research Interests:

Anthropology and Ethnologie

Geographical Area:


Current Project:

Youth Activism and Friendship in Khartoum: Resistance between the Private and Public Spheres

This thesis aims to understand youth political activism and friendship in Khartoum, Sudan. The research explores the significance of social formations and friendship circles administered by activists in negotiating their agency with the state. Against a troubled, Islamist, post-colonial project, many young activists found themselves caught between neoliberal aspirations and a repressive, impoverishing state. Within the spaces of repression, activists maintained hope and a vision for an alternative order. Hence, this research sheds light on the spaces of dissent where hope was nurtured and where it grew to bring about the December uprisings in Sudan.
When the December uprisings took place in 2018 and 2019, unprecedented numbers of youth took to the streets. Given the regime's nature, the question arose: where did all these people come from, and where have they been? Where were they? And what were they doing? These questions are particularly relevant to the notion of “a second wave of Arab spring” in the MENA region articulated by the global media when Sudan, followed by Lebanon, Iraq, and Algeria, witnessed a wave of protests in 2018 and 2019. There seems to be a question of why these countries did not protest in 2012 and what was happening during these years.
The thesis offers an answer to these questions by providing an ethnographic account of everyday life and dissent in Khartoum. The youth who went out against the Islamist regime did not rise from the vacuum. On the contrary, they were engaged directly and indirectly in dissent and resistance. The activities they were executing, either for fun and leisure, for charity and voluntarism, for directly organizing street protests, or for simply coming together and emphasizing a sense of solidarity against the regime, all created the milieu for political change.
This thesis offers a lively account of the everyday social life of activists and the ways young liberal activists managed to live under Islamization in Sudan. It provides an ethnography of the Khartoum sit-in as an ultimate concrete utopia that manifested a nation dreamt of by the activists. Moreover, it explores the relativity of the concept of utopia in relation to the middle class in Khartoum.


Webmaster: Prof. Dr. Susanne Mühleisen

Facebook Twitter Instagram Blog UBT-A Contact