Despite being central to the development of Saharan regional connectivity, northern Chad has been closed to researchers since the late 1960s and thus remains virtually unknown to scholarship. Based on long-term fieldwork, The Value of Disorder is an original and in-depth account of the area and its Tubu majority inhabitants. Julien Brachet and Judith Scheele examine trans-border connectivity and trade; civil war and rebellion; wealth creation and dispersal; labour and gender relations; and aspirations to moral autonomy in northern Chad from an internal point of view - a point of view that in turn participates in a dynamic process of regional interdependence. Vividly ethnographic, the book gives precedence to local categories of value, while asking broader questions about the nature of non-state regional political organisation. Questions that inform current political developments in the Sahara more widely, and have the potential to challenge key concepts in Saharan studies and the social sciences.
Julien Brachet is a Research Fellow at the Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement, University of Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne. He is the author of Migrations transsahariennes: Vers un desert cosmopolite et morcele (2009). Judith Scheele is Directrice d'etudes at the Ecoles des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. She is the author of Village Matters: Politics, Knowledge and Community in Kabylia (2009), and Smugglers and Saints of the Sahara: Regional Connectivity in the Twentieth Century (2012).
Introduction; 1. A never-ending conquest: settlement and the making of a Saharan town; 2. Fifty shades of Khaki: armed conflict and other entanglements; 3. Trouble in the Palm-Grove: labour, status, ownership; 4. Tricks of trade: production, protection and predation; 5. Great ploys and small expectations: accumulation and dispersal in a half-world; 6. The state encompassed: everyday disorder, the aesthetics of violence, and the political imagination; Conclusion.