In the Shadow of a State: Self-Settlement Strategies and Informal Governance Amongst Somalis in Johannesburg

Abstract

This article explores the role of informal governance and institutions in the self-settlement strategies of Somalis in South Africa. Based on 3 years of ethnographic fieldwork with Somalis in Johannesburg, this article argues that informal governance operated though kin, clan and social networks, and personal, localised relationship with state authorities and community leaders are instrumental in governing settlement. Moreover, this form of governance is located within the multiple systems of Somali social order.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Notes

  1. 1.

    Bache, I., & Finders, M. (2004) Multi-level governance (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press)

  2. 2.

    The apartheid classification of persons of South Asian ethnicity.

  3. 3.

    City Press editor Ferial Haffeejee quoted in the Huffington Post, 23 September 2012

  4. 4.

    Interview, 23 August 2009.

References

  1. Al-Sharmani, M. M. (2007). Refugees and citizens: the Somali diaspora in Cairo (Doctoral dissertation).

  2. Atkinson, R. (2007). Under construction-the city-region and the neighbourhood: new actors in a system of multilevel governance?.

  3. Atkinson, P., & Hammersley, M. (1994). Ethnography and participant observation. Handbook of qualitative research, 1(23), 248–261.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Bevir, M. (2008). Key concepts in governance. Sage.

  5. Bevir, M. (2013). Governance: a very short introduction. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Boesen, N. (2007). Governance and accountability: how do the formal and informal interplay and change? (2007) ‘Informal Institutions, how social norms help or hinder development’ (pp. 83–98). Paris: OECD Development Centre. 87.

  7. Crush, J. (2001). The dark side of democracy: migration, xenophobia and human rights in South Africa. International Migration, 38(6), 103–133.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. de Visser, J. (2009). Developmental local government in South Africa: Institutional fault lines.

  9. Fangen, K. H. (2006). Humiliation experienced by Somali refugees in Norway. Journal of Refugee Studies, 19(1), 69–93.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Farah, M. I. (1993). From ethnic response to clan identity. A study of state penetration among the Somali nomadic pastoral society of northeastern Kenya. Uppsala Univ.

  11. Helmke, G., & Levitsky, S. (2004). Informal institutions and comparative politics: a research agenda. Perspectives on Politics, 2(04), 725–740.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Harris, B. (2002). Xenophobia: a new pathology for a new South Africa. Psychopathology and Social Prejudice, 169–184.

  13. Hornberger, J. (2010). Human rights and policing: exigency or incongruence? Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 6, 259–283.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Jacobsen, K. (2006). Refugees and asylum seekers in urban areas: a livelihoods perspective. Journal of Refugee Studies, 19(3), 273–286.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Jinnah, Z. (2010). Making home in a hostile land: understanding Somali identity, integration, livelihood and risks in Johannesburg. Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology, 1(1), 91–99.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Jones, C., Hesterly, W. S., & Borgatti, S. P. (1997). A general theory of network governance: Exchange conditions and social mechanisms. Academy of management review, 22(4), 911–945.

  17. Jorgensen, D. L. (1989). Participant observation. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

  18. Kleist, N. (2008). In the name of diaspora: between struggles for recognition and political aspirations. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 34(7), 1127–1143.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Landau, L. (2013). Recognition, community and the power of mobility in Africa’s new urban estuaries. Community and the power of mobility in Africa’s new urban estuaries (Recognition, Community and the Power of Mobility in Africa’s New Urban Estuaries. Community and the Power of Mobility in Africa’s New Urban Estuaries (April 18, 2013)).

  20. Landau, L. B., Segatti, A., & Misago, J. P. (2013). Planning and participation in cities that move: identifying obstacles to municipal mobility management. Public Administration and Development, 33(2), 113–124.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Lewis, I. M. (2002). A modern history of the Somali: Nation and state in the Horn of Africa. James Currey Publishers.

  22. Maloney, W. S. (2000). Social capital and urban governance: adding a more contextualized ‘top‐down’perspective. Political Studies, 48(4), 802–820.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Macneil, I. R. (1980). The new social contract: an inquiry into modern contractual relations. Yale University Press.

  24. Macneil, I. R. (2000). Contracting worlds and essential contract theory. Social & Legal Studies, 9(3), 431–438.

  25. MacNeil, I. (2002). Adaptation and convergence in corporate governance: The case of Chinese listed companies. Journal of Corporate Law Studies, 2(2), 289–344.

  26. Menkhaus, K. (2007). Governance without government in Somalia: spoilers, state building, and the politics of coping.

  27. Misago, J. P. (2009). Xenophobic violence in South Africa: reflections on causal factors and implications. Centre for Policy Studies, 10(3), 3–8.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Misago, J. P. (2011). Disorder in a changing society: authority and the micro-politics of violence. Exorcising the demons within. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.[Links].

  29. Neocosmos, M. (2010). From ‘foreign natives’ to ‘native foreigners’: explaining xenophobia in post-apartheid South Africa: Citizenship and nationalism, identity and politics. African Books Collective.

  30. Palmary, I. (2002). Shifting safety agendas: crime prevention in the major cities. Crime Prevention Partnerships: Lessons from Practice. Pretoria: Institute for Security Studies, 27–46.

  31. Peters, B. G. (2006). Governance, government and the state. The state: theories and issues. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 209–222.

  32. Rapley, J. (2012). The development of informal governance in post-apartheid South Africa: criminal gangs as neo-medieval agents. South African Journal of International Affairs, 19(3), 319–336.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Sadouni, S. (2009). ‘God is not unemployed’: journeys of Somali refugees in Johannesburg. African Studies, 68(2), 235–249.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Sadouni, S. (2013). Somalis in Johannesburg: Muslim transformations of the city. Topographies of faith: religion in urban spaces, 45–59. Chicago.

  35. SAHRC. (2010). Report on the SAHRC investigation into issues of rule of law, justice and impunity arising out of the 2008 public violence against non-nationals.

  36. Samatar, A. I. (2001). Somali reconstruction and local initiative: Amoud University. World Development, 29(4), 641–656.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Samatar, A. I. (1992). Destruction of state and society in Somalia: beyond the tribal convention. The Journal of Modern African Studies, 30(04), 625–641. Chicago.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Schaffer, M. (2012). Comparative example of women’s remittances practices in two Somali communities: Johannesburg and Columbus in Sirkeci, I., Cohen, J. H., & Ratha, D. (Eds.). (2012). Migration and remittances during the global financial crisis and beyond. World Bank Publications. Pp 359–365

  39. Scott, C. (2004). Regulation in the age of governance: the rise of the post regulatory state (pp. 145–174). Edward Elgar Publishing.

  40. Statistics South Africa. (2012). Census 2011.

  41. Turton, E. R. (1972). Somali resistance to colonial rule and the development of Somali political activity in Kenya 1893–1960. The Journal of African History, 13(01), 119–143.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Tiilikainen, M. S. (2003). Somali women and daily Islam in the diaspora. Social Compass, 50(1), 59–69.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. UNHCR. (2015). Statistical snapshot: South Africa. From http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e485aa6.html#.

  44. Womens Refugee Commission. (2011). No Place to Go But Up: Urban Refugees in Johannesburg, South Africa.

  45. Zenger, T. R. (2001). Informal and formal organization in new institutional economics. The new institutionalism in strategic management, 277–305. Chicago.

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Zaheera Jinnah.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Jinnah, Z. In the Shadow of a State: Self-Settlement Strategies and Informal Governance Amongst Somalis in Johannesburg. Int. Migration & Integration 18, 881–895 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12134-016-0508-7

Download citation

Keywords

  • Forced migration
  • Governance
  • Johannesburg
  • Self-settlement
  • Somali diaspora