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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Somali Tradition, Peripheral Capitalism, and the Politics of Development
Author:Samatar, Abdi I.ISNI
Periodical:Northeast African Studies
Geographic term:Somalia
Subjects:social change
social structure
class relations
political economy
dual economy
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Politics and Government
Economics and Trade
Development and Technology
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/43660260
Abstract:This paper develops a conception of the structure of Somali society which contrasts with the ideas of Vali Jamal ('Somalia: economics for an unconventional economy', Geneva, 1987), who argues that the informal economy of Somalia is not suffering from crisis and poverty. The present paper concludes that, on the contrary, the Somali political economy is very much crisis-ridden. The paper has two principal objectives. The first is to demonstrate that the social structure, and therefore the tradition of Somali society, has gone through a qualitative transformation involving the dissolution of precapitalist 'pastoral democracy' and the development of social classes and exploitative relationships among pastoralists, merchants and the State. These relationships constitute the domestic context which conditions the configuration of the politics of development. The second objective is to show that the emergent social formation, peripheral capitalist pastoralism, is experiencing a crisis of reproduction, and that one of the dominant social groups which has benefited from the prevailing system, the merchant class, lacks the capacity to forge a coherent development strategy that can lead to the construction of a more productive and sustainable economy. Notes, ref.