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DinkaAgaar of South Sudan - Essay Example

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DinkaAgaar of South Sudan The Dinka are a major group that reside in South Sudan, mainly inhabiting the Bahr el Ghazal region of the Nile Basin. Jeffery L. Deal studied the Dinka people living in one village in South Sudan known as Ticagok, focusing on their use of and approaches to violence (Deal, 2010, p565)…
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DinkaAgaar of South Sudan

Download file to see previous pages... Information was also given to Deal by various government officials and military officers, to try and determine the root and level of the violence and torture experience by the DinkaAgaar. Perhaps the most central concept of the research is that of Cieng. This is, as a noun, “human relations, conduct, behavior, habit, personality, custom, law, rule, way of life, culture, essence, and nature” (Deal, 2010, p571) and dictates the reason behind much of the violence within the group. The definition of Cieng seems to be the object of study in much of social anthropology, and the fact that it plays such an important role in the group dynamic explains the reasons for much of the behaviour. Deal (2010, p571) suggests that the importance of Ciengensures that the good of the group outweighs the good of the individual, and therefore, some of the torture and violent behaviour continues as it is thought to be an important part of Dinka culture. The main approach used by Deal (2010) is that sanctioned by Malinowski; fieldwork, taking the time to get the ‘native’s perspective’ through participant observation and communication with the members of the tribe. Torture and other forms of violence may seem unsavoury to an outsider, but when torture “appears to be a manifestation of deeply held perceptions of self and society within the people one studies, the calls to intervene are not so sharp” (Deal, 2010, p571) and an anthropologist needs to be sure not to use personal ethical frameworks on the tribe in question. This is perhaps the most appropriate methodology to use when studying such a culture. 17 months is a long period of time to be conducting fieldwork, but perhaps is needed to gain the trust of the group and a true appreciation for their lifestyle. Going in and collecting surveys full of quantitative information can be useful in some approaches, but may be likely to give bias. Deal (2010) was incorporated into the society and was even given a Dinka name by which he was addressed (p566), and as such it is certain that there was a certain level of trust in the researcher by the group. This is not without its failings, as there may be a situations where the group is misrepresented by the researcher due to sympathetic bias. However, it seems more appropriate than using a Western framework on a distinct culture. Additionally, Deal listed the types of information he gathered during the fieldwork period, and these were numerous and came from a number of different sources, so it seems certain that the majority of the research was free from particular bias (Deal, 2010, p564). As the research here focuses on the use of violence and torture as part of the justice system, the most interesting thing to be learnt is about the use of different moral and legal codes by the Dinka people. The use of violence within this tribe must only be seen from their social perspective, as they use violence as a means of starting war, revenge, and justice (Deal, 2010, p567). Torture is also used to exacerbate the differences between the Dinka and the neighbouring Nyueii, as well as a punishment from indecent contact with these rivals (Deal, 2010, p566). Violence is part of the Cieng defined and used by the Dinka, and it is used to define ‘us’ from ‘them’ in the tribe. In conclusion, this research uses a wide range of material to illustrate the use of violen ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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