Dismantling the ‘Deep State’ in Sudan

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In the wake of the revolution in Sudan, there has been a significant amount of discussion about the deep state. These discussions emanate from other examples across the globe, where the deep state is perceived to be an interlocking system of shadowy interests that direct government actions in ways that undermine democratic principles. What kinds of interests control Sudan—a country that has been an authoritarian state until recently—need further analysis. This article unpacks the core elements of the deep state in the country, how it developed, and the areas in which influences exist. I argue that the deep state is more than kleptocracy or corruption alone. Rather, following the work of Bourdieu, I contend that there are four major types of capital that permeate the deep state and allow those involved to maintain control. Following from this, I argue that dismantling the deep state means more than asset seizure and tracking of illicit financial flows. It must encompass a more fundamental and difficult transformation of systems of privilege, education, and connection in Sudan that are at the heart of core-periphery relations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-69
Number of pages21
JournalAustralasian Review of African Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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