Pastoralism in a Stateless Environment: The Case of the Southern Somalia Borderlands

  • Peter D. Little University of Kentucky
Keywords: Pastoralism, Collapsed States, Trade And Markets, Political Conflict


Somalia has been without a government since 1991 when the regime of President Siad Barre was overthrown. This article examines the strategies that Somali herders and traders of the southern Somalia borderlands, particularly the Lower Jubba Region, have pursued in the absence of a central government. As an activity, pastoralism and the commerce it spurs are at the heart of Somali livelihoods and social relationships. They have the potential to unite as well as divide, and provide convenient lens into the causes of conflict and the ways that the majority of the population has survived since 1991. In this article, it will be shown that the lack of a state does not equate to political anarchy and. Indeed, for some areas a form of local and regional administration has emerged. The paper, however, concludes by arguing that statelessness has not been good for the majority of Somalis and that it represents an unsustainable political model that has the potential to undermine one of the few successes, trade, that has occurred since the state's collapse.


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