“If you have no moonlight, use the stars”: The Dynamics of Transnational Statebuilding Between the UN Mission, Politicians, and Elders in Somalia

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Abstract

The United Nations Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) implements Security Council resolutions. The mission supports the Somali Federal Government (SFG) and combines formality with informality in facilitating transnational power and legitimacy claims. While informal interactions sustain internal legitimacy, formal transnational alliance coordination protects the SFG.
Building on a qualitative data collected between 2012- 2016, this paper proposes empirically grounded, theoretical perspectives involving UNSOM, Somali politicians and traditional elders. Although the three main actors engage with formal bureaucratic exchanges, such actors also pursue informal transnational connections.
The UN observed trusteeship in Somalia in 1950s in which representatives formally interacted with pan-Somali elites. This article argues that UNSOM relies on “the Somali triangle connections: Politicians, Elders, and the UNSOM” under which trans-nationalization and informalization remain the most vocal.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAfrica Insight
Volume47
Issue number4
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2018

Keywords

  • United Nation
  • State Building
  • Conflicts
  • transnational formations

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