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Title:Mimesis and mimicry in dynamics of State and identity formation in northern Somalia
Author:Hoehne, Markus V.
Year:2009
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Volume:79
Issue:2
Pages:252-281
Language:English
Geographic terms:Somalia
Somaliland
Subjects:State formation
group identity
nation building
External links:https://doi.org/10.3366/E0001972009000710
http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/africa_the_journal_of_the_international_african_institute/v079/79.2.hoehne.pdf
Abstract:In this article, mimesis and mimicry are used as analytical concepts to explore dynamics of State and identity formation in Somaliland and Puntland since the early 1990s. Mimesis captures endeavours to imitate well-established models of social and political organization. Mimicry involves the deceptive imitation of such models in order to reach a certain aim. In the particular setting of northern Somalia, miming and mimicking in State and identity formation are also related to conflict escalation. The article first presents relevant political and legal positions on State collapse and secession. This helps to grasp the theoretical and policy implications of the empirical material. Then, the establishment of Somaliland and Puntland through mimesis and mimicry is sketched. The outline of the repeated military confrontations between both sides, particularly the last round of fighting in and around the town of Laascaanood in late 2007, indicates the relation of State and identity formation to military conflict. These localized dynamics are embedded into the continuing conflict in southern Somalia that involves a number of internal and external actors. The article concludes that miming and mimicking underlie many of Somaliland's and Puntland's internal developments and their conflictive relationship. Moreover, since the conflict in northern Somalia concerns State formation, it might have far-reaching consequences for the future of Somalia as a whole. This finally leads to the suggestion that the international norms regarding State collapse and secession have to be re-evaluated in the light of the empirical realities at hand. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]
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