African Studies Seminar: Citizens for Justice; struggles against violence and predation in wartorn South Sudan

rachel ibreck

Conveners: Rachel Ibreck (Goldsmiths)

Speaker: Rachel Ibreck (Goldsmiths)

Co-hosted with the Horn of Africa seminar.


Civic and legal activists navigate and alter the political landscape during conflict, distinguishing themselves from warring parties and victims. Their actions and perspectives are routinely threatened or marginalised, yet why and how they respond to everyday injustices and violations matters. As political outliers, they offer specific insights into the conflict and the challenges for political transformation. Drawing on a life-history approach, this paper explores the experiences, tactics and motivations of South Sudanese paralegals and lawyers during the ongoing civil war. It presents one strand of a participatory action research project into the practices of law, legal politics and civic activism during South Sudan’s civil war, with the support of the Justice and Security Research Programme, LSE, from 2014-2017. 



Rachel Ibreck is a Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Goldsmiths, University of London. She holds PhD in Politics and International Relations, University of Bristol.  Her research is concerned with struggles for rights, justice and memory in African countries affected by conflict and mass atrocities, including Rwanda, Sierra Leone and South Sudan. She has published work on the politics of genocide memorialisation, social movements, and resistance to land grabbing in book chapters and journals such as African Affairs, the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, and the Journal of Contemporary African Studies.