Class and Power in Sudan

The Dynamics of Sudanese Politics, 1898-1985

By Tim Niblock

Subjects: African Studies
Paperback : 9780887064814, 370 pages, August 1987
Hardcover : 9780887064807, 370 pages, August 1987

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Table of contents

List of Tables and Figures
1. The Development of the Economy up to 1930
I. Before 1898
II. Determing the direction of economic development after 1898
III. The inception of the cotton schemes
IV. Other economic developments
2. Economic Developments 1930-56
I. The re-investment of accumulated capital
II. The government sector: administration and services
III. The government sector: productive investment
IV. The private sector: investment in pump schemes
V. The private sector: investment in mechanised farming in the rainlands
VI. The private sector: investment in real estate, commerce and petty manufacturing
VII. The economic position in 1956
3. Social Forces under Condominium
I. Introduction
II. Reinvestment and the economic elite
(a) Religious leaders
(b) Tribal leaders
(c) Merchants (traders)
(d) Higher civil servants and professionals
(e) Composition of policy-making bodies: representation of the economic elite in the Legislative Assemly and the first Parliament
III. Social structure: the size and character of socio-economic groupings
(a) Peasants
(b) Nomads
(c) Tenant farmers
(d) Rural farmers
(e) Urban workers
(f) Salariat
(g) Merchants
(h) Class structure
Appendix: The Sufi religious orders (Turuq)
4. Social Movements, Regional Movements and Administrative Organisation, 1898-1956
I. Social movements and organisations
(a) The labour movement
(b) The tenants' movement
(c) The student movement
(d) The women's movement
(e) The military
II. Regional movements and organisations
(a) The basis of inequality
(b) Regional movements in northern Sudan
(c) The regional movement in southern Sudan
III. The administrative system
5. Sudanese Nationalism and the Attainment of Independence
I. Introduction
II. Primary resisting
III. The 1924 Uprising
IV. The creation of quasi-political groupings around establishment figures, 1920s and 1930s
V. The Literary Study Groups, late 1920s and 1930s
VI. The re-emergence of a nationalist movement: the Graduates' Congress and the development of political parties, 1938-46
VII. The rise of a radical nationalist movement, 1945-56
VIII. The transition to independence
6. The Dynamics of Post-Independence Politics, 1956-69
I. Perspective
II. 1956-8: The first parliamentary period
(a) The emergence of the National Unionist Party as a secular nationalist movement
(b) Changing electoral rules and the 1958 elections
(c) The South
III. 1958-64: the 'Abbud regime
(a) The Assumption of power by the military
(b) Civilian representation
(c) The South
IV. 1964-9: the second parliamentary period
(a) The rise and fall of the transitional government and subsequent developments
V. The economy
7. Politics and Economy under the Nimairi Regime, 1969-85
I. The overall pattern
II. The free officers' movement and the seizure of power
(a) Origins of the free officers; movement: the 1950s
(b) Development of a new officers' movements in the 1960s and the 1969 coup
III. Programmes for social and economic change, 1969-71
IV. The failure to maintain the progressive alliance, 1969-71
V. The political institutions of the regime, post-1971
VI. Political dynamics affecting the roles of the political institutions
VII. Popular participation: the Sudan Socialist Union
VIII. The pursuit of national unity: regional autonomy in the southern Sudan
IX. Economic policy and achievement
X. The dynamics of the Nirmairi regime's disintegration
Glossary of Arabic Terms


With the attention of the industrialized world focused on the political, economic, and social strife of Africa, Tim Niblock travels to Sudan for a first-hand investigation of the socio-economic structure of that continent's largest country. His findings hold significant implications for the wider context of Africa, the Arab countries, and the Third World. His is a systematic and comprehensive study of Sudanese politics. A country with immense economic potential, possessing extensive tracts of cultivable but currently uncultivated land, Sudan could emerge as a major source of food for the Arab world. Yet it is threatened by famine while attempts at development are frustrated by civil war and political disarray. Niblock examines the political, economic, and social factors that have shaped the country's development. The fate of Sudan will be critical to the political stability of North-East Africa and the Red Sea area, and the Sudanese experience is instructive for underdeveloped countries as a whole.

Tim Niblock is a Lecturer in Politics at the University of Exeter.