Using South Sudan as a case, this report interrogates people’s perceptions of the state, focusing on sources of legitimacy that are not primarily related to service delivery. It covers the period from the onset of civil war in 1983 to the present time. We underline the importance of historical antecedents of policies and practices of the government during the Interim Period (2005-2011) and subsequently of the South Sudanese state.

Accordingly, the report addresses the following key questions: What ideas, ideologies and actions did leaders of the SPLM/A employ during the war to challenge the legitimacy of the Sudanese state and also to mobilise public support for their cause? How did these ideas, ideologies and actions influence the legitimacy of government and state structures after the war ended in 2005? What are the key sources of legitimacy of the South Sudanese state?