Towards New Approaches to Statehood and Governance-Building in Africa: The Somali Crisis Reconsidered
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While the ‘fiction’ of African statehood (Clapham, 1996a) was discarded as a result of post-Cold War geo-political changes, the state-centrism of political science, international relations (IR) analysis and dominant policymaking discourses remained impervious to change. Cold War militarization and geo-strategic politics have been replaced by a preoccupation with implementing liberal democratic statehood worldwide, and in this way to promote economic prosperity, human development and international security. Unsurprisingly, the ideal ‘democratic practice’ and its implementation along liberal lines is ‘the mode of government of the most powerful states in the international system’ (Cavatorta, 2009, p. 124), and carries with it a conception of how the international system ought to function (Clapham, 2000). The incongruence of this ideal of liberal statehood with the realties on the ground, in particular on the African continent, has given birth to the discourse of ‘state failure’. African states are commonly defined in terms of what they are not, rather than what they are (Clapham, 2000), and the issue of correcting their ‘wrongness’ has high priority in international politics.
KeywordsState Failure African Statehood Political Order Governance Arrangement International Relation
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