Reshaping the Role of Civil Society in Somalia - Peacebuilding in a Collapsed State


Quinn, Shane, and Ibrahim Farah. 2008. “Reshaping the Role of Civil Society in Somalia - Peacebuilding in a Collapsed State.” Paper presented at the International Studies Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA, March 26-29.

Authors: Shane Quinn, Ibrahim Farah


Somalia has been without an effective central government for the past seventeen years. In such a vacuum, many non-state actors including the civil society were left to play a major role in the search for peace. Although the term civil society€™ itself has a definitional problem in a Somali setting, this emerging entity has had a recognizable, albeit sporadic effect in various parts of the country. There are, however, a number of challenges: too much dependence on external support, the distinct cultural context and the lack of a coherent and coordinated strategy. The paper will analyze the role civil society has had in war-torn Somalia since the 1990s along an analytical framework that also looks into the context in which civil society operates, and the relevance and effectiveness of civil society performance towards peacebuilding. It is argued that, despite the definitional problems associated with the term, civil society has played a major role in the peacebuilding process in Somalia and that it remains the only major unifying factor in the country.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Civil Society, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Somalia

Year: 2008

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