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The ambiguous role of the popular, society and public order Police in Sudan, 1983-2011

Berridge, W. J. (2013) The ambiguous role of the popular, society and public order Police in Sudan, 1983-2011. Middle Eastern Studies. 49(4), pp. 528-546. 0026-3206.

Item Type: Article
Abstract: This article addresses a number of obscurities surrounding the role of the various Sudanese police units often referred to as the ‘religious police’ or ‘morality police’. These include the Popular Police, Society Police and Public Order Police. Although these units have often been analysed as agents of ‘Arabization’, ‘Islamization’ and the cultural domination of peripheral groups by the hegemonic northern riverain faction within the state, this article focuses instead primarily on the intra-northern debate over these units, which is suggestive of a variety of internal crises the northern government will need to resolve in the wake of secession. It contends that the Sudanese government has never resolved the ambiguity over whether these units function as local crime fighters or as guardians of religious morality. Although a number of analysts argue that the Sudanese regime has become less ideological and thus scaled back the morality police, this ambiguity remains highly relevant today, to the extent that it causes divisions within the security forces and even the government itself. The article further identifies the centrality of the debate over the public order units to the period of self-questioning that has characterized the ‘post-Islamist’ phase in Sudanese politics. It discusses the ambiguous social status of these units, who have been represented as guardians of urban Sudanese culture by their champions and a threat to it by their detractors
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT Africa > DT154.1 Sudan. Anglo-Egyptian Sudan > DT155.3 History
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV7551 Police. Detectives. Constabulary > HV8130 By region or country > HV8269.3 Sudan
Creators: Berridge, W J
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > School of Social Sciences (to 2016)
University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Faculty of Education & Humanities > History
Faculties > Faculty of Education & Humanities > History
Date: 1 July 2013
Date Type: Publication
Page Range: pp. 528-546
Journal or Publication Title: Middle Eastern Studies
Volume: 49
Number: 4
Language: English
ISSN: 0026-3206
Status: Published / Disseminated
Refereed: Yes
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