White Rose University Consortium logo
University of Leeds logo University of Sheffield logo York University logo

The politics of famine in Sudan: The case of Dar Hamid and Dar Hamar

Hamid, Ahmed Hamoda (1995) The politics of famine in Sudan: The case of Dar Hamid and Dar Hamar. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.


Download (12Mb)


This study is about famine in Sudan. The study has sought to explain famine in Sudan in political terms. It presents a critique o f conventional famine theory which emphasises the primacy o f natural causes such as drought. The study recounts the conditions which generate recurrent famines in Sudan in recent history, highlighting domestic and international determinants. It examines five major theories o f famine, giving a critique o f each o f the theories examined. The theoretical appraisal reveals the inadequacy o f famine theory which we argue is partly responsible for the persistence o f famine in Sudan and elsewhere. This study has aimed to contribute to a better understanding o f the phenomenon of famine with a view towards eliminating it. It offers the view that famine can only be understood in a broad historical context which brings out the evolution o f economic and political relations within the Sudanese society, and its subordination to the international market economy which determines differential access to resources including food for different social groups such as renders some groups vulnerable to famine, while others escape and may even "benefit" from it. The study depicts two rural communities from Kordofan who were unduly affected by the recent famines; and a field-work study has been carried out to trace the historical processes underpinning their political marginalisation and economic exploitation which we consider to be responsible for their vulnerability to famine. These processes are accounted for on three levels: on a macro-level, considering internal and external constraints influencing state policies; on a regional level, and on a micro-village and household levels. Such an account is necessary for a better understanding o f famine since conventional famine theory has largely focused analysis on macro-level policies, ignoring what takes place among the rural village communities who actually experience famine. The study shows the interconnectedness o f processes on the three levels. The conclusion that can be drawn from the study is that famine becomes endemic among the poor and powerless groups. "Empowering" the rural populations would be the single most important action towards eliminating famine in Sudan, and elsewhere. However, "empowerment" o f the local communities would be o f little benefit to them unless the international economic system recognises the welfare o f such groups.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Politics & International Studies (POLIS) (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.557325
Depositing User: Digitisation Studio Leeds
Date Deposited: 16 May 2012 16:17
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2014 11:21
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/2365

You do not need to contact us to get a copy of this thesis. Please use the 'Download' link(s) above to get a copy.
You can contact us about this thesis. If you need to make a general enquiry, please see the Contact us page.

Actions (repository staff only: login required)