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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Somali Studies: Towards an Alternative Epistemology
Author:Samatar, Abdi I.ISNI
Periodical:Northeast African Studies
Geographic term:Somalia
Subjects:Somali studies
social sciences
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
Education and Oral Traditions
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/43660258
Abstract:This paper is about the nature, form, and direction of Somali studies. It is about conceptualization or ways of perceiving and representing the social world. The main arguments are three: 1) Somali studies, notwithstanding its young age, is dominated by an old social science assumption that perceives kinship as the fulcrum of Somali society; 2) the most concomitant approach which pervades the field is conventional and evolutionary developmentalism - that is, modernization - which has long been challenged, if not eclipsed, in development studies; and 3) the deepening underdevelopment of the majority of the Somali people, which is a consequence of the encircling gloom of economic destitution and feral political climate, confronts this area of study with powerful and still growing anomalies which compel a search for an alternative intellectual agenda. One useful way to respond to this call is to deploy the assumptions and analytical tools of 'critical political economy'. Heuristically, three major nodal points of this alternative paradigm can be seen: production and social forces, the State, and world order. The article is organized into three broad sections. First, a short discussion on paradigm is presented. Second, the author reviews some of the literature of the dominant perspective, especially as it relates to Somalia. Finally, the author makes a brief for 'critical political economy'. Notes, ref.