Research internship: “Green citizenship urban experiences in the treatment of nature”

CEDEJ Khartoum MEAE/CNRS – USR 3123, the UMR SAGE 7363 University of Strasbourg and the Institut Françaispropose an internship which is part of an interdisciplinary survey entitled “Green citizenship urban experiences in the treatment of nature (Khartoum, Sudan)”.

In these times of climate change and its increasingly visible consequences for the environment and
societies, we investigate citizens’ actions to treat, conserve and manage nature in African cities,
especially in the context of political and/or economic crises.

As is the case with many other urban contexts in the Global South, Sudan’s capital city of Khartoum is
often described as unsanitary and overcrowded. Environmental degradation and an acceleration in the
deterioration of its quality of life have been reported (Ille and Steel, 2021; Pantuliano et al., 2011). At
the same time, with its particular ecology, and its location in a sort of oasis in the Sahel desert at the
confluence of the White Nile and the Blue Nile (Lavie et al., 2021; Babiker, 1971), Khartoum has
inherited a history of urbanisation that is marked by a great diversity of colonial and postcolonial
projects (Assal, 2008; Davies and Abu Sin, 1991). The city is currently experiencing a political and
economic crisis – which has worsened in the course of the past decade – that is weakening the social
fabric and increasing the vulnerability of the urban population. In a context such as this, environmental
issues are subject to political and economic crises and come in second place after existing public
policies, international aid, the media and academic research.

There are therefore important gaps in the data needed to establish the state of urban ecosystems and
their degradation with precision, and to design the actions that must be taken to address them,
despite the fact that we now know that urban spaces have an important functional role to play in
broader environmental dynamics (Muller et al., 2018).

The aim of the GREEN CITIZENSHIP survey is therefore to address the local environmental practices of
urban dwellers in Khartoum. Private gardens open to the public, neighbourhood collectives for the
preservation of green spaces, protected spaces and public or private reserves, are among the local
practices that weave urban ecosystems in their own fashion. They are related to a variety of
management logics (including religious beliefs, neighbourly ties and the marketisation of the
environment) and contribute to the maintenance of life and the preservation of nature in the city.

With this survey, it is our intention to explore the environment-related actions that contribute to the
construction and practice of citizenship by focusing on the opportunities for action available to
individuals and collectives that relate to their immediate everyday environments. At the same time,
we seek to question the notion of ‘nature’ by stressing its social and cultural character, and by
considering it as a historical construction.

The internship involves the evaluation and documentation of the local practices for the protection of
the urban environment employed by the inhabitants of the city. It is based on a multi-site ethnography.
The objective is to compare different forms of management of urban green spaces (public, private,
community, etc.) and their history in order to gain an understanding of the social, historical and phys-
ical factors that determine the sustainability and stability of the city’s green spaces.



Citer ce billet
cedejsudan (2023, 1 mars). Research internship: “Green citizenship urban experiences in the treatment of nature” Researching Sudan - A perspective on contemporary Sudans. Consulté le 22 février 2024, à l’adresse https://doi.org/10.58079/mhn1

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