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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Seminar: Spectres of the state: State collapse and sovereign afterlives in Somalia | African Studies Centre

Seminar: Spectres of the state: State collapse and sovereign afterlives in Somalia | African Studies Centre

It is commonly assumed that the collapse of the socialist-military dictatorship signified the end of a functioning public administration within Somalia. While it is true that the Somali state ceased to exist as a ‘coercion wielding organization’ (Tilly 1992) in 1991, it did not disappear entirely from people’s lives. Indeed, non-state actors (in this case, businessmen, political organizations, etc.) not only engaged in governance tasks, but began to reproduce stately artefacts, meanings and practices. This seminar describes the re-emergence of these governmental technologies as spectres of a defunct Somali Democratic Republic that continue to haunt the Somali territories. The speaker examines three distinct stately things: first, the reprinting and continued circulation of legal tender (the Somali shilling) by Somali businessmen; second, the recycling of state symbols by various political groups who make discursive reference to Somali nationalist figurehead Mohammed Abdullah Hassan (nicknamed ‘Sayyid’ or ‘Mad Mullah’); and third the diplomatic relations of the Somali phantom state by self-sponsored Somali diplomats.
Tobias HagmannTobias Hagmann (read his website) is a political scientist with a broad interest in comparative politics and international development. He follows and contributes to academic and policy debates on the political sociology of the state, the causes and consequences of violent conflict and natural resource management in the global South. Since 1998 his research has concentrated on the Horn of Africa - particularly Ethiopia and the Somali territories - whose dynamism and complexities continue to intrigue. He works predominantly with qualitative research methods and enjoys interdisciplinary collaborations.
Hagmann coordinates a four year research programme entitled 'Governing economic hubs and flows in Somali East Africa' (GOVSEA) that studies the nexus between everyday economic activities and state formation dynamics across the Somali territories, see GOVSEA website.

Date, time and location

08 October 2015
15.30 - 17.00
Pieter de la Courtgebouw / Faculty of Social Sciences, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden
Room 5A42 (5th floor)

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