Building Peace from Diaspora: UK Sudanese opposition activists, peacebuilding and hybridity

Student thesis: Phd


This research is concerned with the problems and possibilities of combining diverse forms of peacebuilding in the same peacebuilding space. It analyses patterns of interaction between various forms of peacebuilding using a framework of hybridity. Within debates on peacebuilding hybridities, frictional encounters are situated between international peacebuilders and 'locals' who are predominantly conceptualised as domestic, indigenous and globally Southern. While enhancing understandings of local/international interactions, this conceptualisation excludes constituencies of locals who occupy global spaces - those in diaspora. Diaspora activists have been shown to ambivalently shape other processes of homeland change as either mediators or meddlers due to the opportunities and limitations arising from being in diaspora. In spite of this, an in-depth understanding of the roles of diaspora in hybrid peacebuilding debates is lacking. When diaspora activists have been analysed in relation to peacebuilding, it has been primarily outside of the framework of hybridity which - due to its roots in postcolonial theory - extolls resistance to international peacebuilding as having enormous peacebuilding potential. As such, diaspora who resist international peacebuilding processes have been consistently cast as peace-wreckers which belies the tolerance for resistance so central to hybrid analyses. In light of the potential for diaspora, and particularly those in opposition to formal peacebuilding, to transform, assuage or exacerbate patterns of interaction between locals and internationals, this research centralises diaspora opposition activism in a hybrid analysis of a peacebuilding space. It does this through a single case study of UK Sudanese activists and their contributions to Sudanese peacebuilding. Sudanese peacebuilding is characterised by its diversity: it combines international peace agreements, elite dialogues, top-down transitional justice with local-level community reconciliation and bottom-up political change movements. It therefore provides an exemplary case of a peacebuilding space in which multiple forms of peacebuilding with diverse, and often contradictory aims, coalesce and contend with one another. The study examines how Sudanese activists resident in the UK shape the patterns of interaction within Sudanese peacebuilding, and asks how various aspects of 'being in diaspora' make those contributions possible. In doing so, this research contributes to understandings of how, why and with what effects diverse actors, ideas and processes combine during peacebuilding.
Date of Award31 Dec 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorUma Kothari (Supervisor) & Tanja Müller (Supervisor)


  • Sudan
  • Hybridity
  • Diaspora
  • Peacebuilding

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