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Centre of Governance & Human Rights (CGHR)


Why have war and coercion dominated the political realm in the Sudans, a decade after South Sudan’s independence and fifteen years after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement? This new book by CGHR Co-Director Sharath Srinivasan explains the tragic role of international peacemaking in reproducing violence and political authoritarianism in Sudan and South Sudan.

Srinivasan charts the destructive effects of Sudan’s landmark north–south peace process, from how it fuelled war in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile to its contribution to Sudan’s failed political transformation and South Sudan’s rapid descent into civil war. Concluding with the conspicuous absence of ‘peace’ when non-violent revolutionary political change came to Sudan in 2019, he examines at close range why outsiders’ peace projects may displace civil politics and raise the political currency of violence.

This is an analysis of the perils of attempting to build a non-violent political realm through neat designs and tools of compulsion, where the end goal of peace becomes caught up in idealised constitutional texts, technocratic templates and deals on sharing spoils. When Peace Kills Politics shows that these methods, ultimately anti-political, will be resisted—often violently—by dissatisfied local actors.

Available from Hurst & Co and, in North America, from Oxford University Press.


‘An innovative and provocative contribution to peacemaking theory and practice. Srinivasan provides a thorough, comprehensive, and original perspective on war and peace in the Sudans. This will be of enormous value to peace practitioners, policy-makers, international relations experts, and scholars of African politics alike.’ — Séverine Autesserre, author of Peaceland and The Frontlines of Peace

When Peace Kills Politics is a detailed appraisal of the peace process in the Sudans, drawing attention to the inherent contradictions of peacemaking itself. The argument is clear, consistent, important and true, and should ensure it widespread attention.’ — Christopher Clapham, Professor Emeritus, Centre of African Studies, University of Cambridge

‘Srinivasan brings a high level of scholarship and a salutary scepticism to the analysis of international diplomatic intervention in Sudan and South Sudan. A major advance in understanding the interrelated failures of external peacemaking and the local and national conflicts besetting the two countries.’ — John Ryle, Legrand Ramsey Professor of Anthropology, Bard College

‘Profoundly original and disturbing, this book is an urgent call for a radical rethinking of international peacemaking anchored in civil political action. If you read only one book on international peace interventions, this should be it.’ — Rita Abrahamsen, Director of the Centre for International Policy Studies, University of Ottawa