Katarzyna Grabska of The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies reviews Negotiating Belongings: Stories of Forced Migration of Dinka Women from South Sudan, by Melanie Baak. Melanie Baak utilizes narrative, ethnographic and autoethnographic approaches to explore the negotiations for belonging for six women from Dinka communities originating in southern Sudan. She explores belonging, particularly in relation to migration, through a consideration of belonging to nation-states, ethnic groups, community, family and kin. In exploring how the journeys towards desired belongings are haunted by various social processes such as colonization, power, ‘race’ and gender, Baak argues that negotiating belonging is a continual movement between being and becoming. The research utilizes and demands different ways of listening to and really hearing the narratives of the women as embedded within non-Western epistemologies and ontologies. Through this it develops an understanding of the relational ontology, cieng, that governs the ways in which the women exist in the world. The women’s narratives alongside the author’s experience within the Dinka community provide particular ways to interrogate the intersections of being and becoming on the haunted journey to belonging. The relational ontology of cieng provides an additional way of understanding belonging, becoming and being as always relational.
Read the book review at https://doi.org/10.1111/imre.12371