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Jaspars, Susanne, Majid, Nisar and Adan, Guhad (2023) 'Somalia’s evolving political market place: from famine and humanitarian crisis to permanent precarity.' Journal of Modern African Studies, 61 (3). pp. 343-366.

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Somalia has a long history of famine and humanitarian crisis. This article focuses on the years 2008–2020, during which governance and aid practices changed substantially and which include three crisis periods. The article examines whether and how governance analysed as a political marketplace can help explain Somalia's repeated humanitarian crises and the manipulation of response. We argue that between 2008 and 2011 the political marketplace was a violent competitive oligopoly which contributed to famine, but that from 2012 a more collusive, informal political compact resulted in a status quo which avoided violent conflict or famine in 2017 and which functioned to keep external resources coming in. At the same time, this political arrangement benefits from the maintenance of a large group of displaced people in permanent precarity as a source of aid and labour.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Somalia, famine, politics, governance, displacement
SOAS Departments & Centres: School Research Centres > SOAS Food Studies Centre
Departments and Subunits > Department of Anthropology & Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences
ISSN: 0022278X
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2023 08:57
Funders: Other

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