State-Making At Gunpoint: The Role Of Violent Conflict In Somaliland’s March To Statehood

Saxafi Photofile Mujaahidiinta SNM ee gudaha u soo galay Hargeysa, Salaasa, May 31, 1988

Dominik Balthasar

Civil Wars, Volume 19, 2017 – Issue 1


Published Online: 26 Jul 2017


The role of war in processes of state-making has long been hotly disputed. Although generally considered an African ‘success story’, the case of Somaliland, whose unilateral declaration of independence was embedded in violent conflict, may be instructive. Applying the conceptual prism of ‘rule standardization’, this article argues that episodes of large-scale violence were constitutive of Somaliland’s state-making trajectory. Based on theoretical reasoning and empirical findings, the article concludes that, while collective political violence is neither an angel of order nor a daemon of decay, war can be constitutive of state-making under the condition that it advances institutional and identity standardization.

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Dominik_BalthasarDominik Balthasar 

University of Basel | UNIBAS · Abteilung Wirtschaft und Politik

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