The material roots of the suspended African state: arguments from Somalia.

A. Samatar, A. I. Samatar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Purports that African underdevelopment deepens because 1) the envelopment of the global capitalist order continues to condition central variables such as prices, technology, and ideology, which in turn impinge on the pace of accumulation; and 2) the political moment is estranged as a result of the material disconnection of the state from the producers, the bed-rock social forces of African life. This debilitating suspension of the state is less an inherent function of the peasant economy than it is more of the inherited and indigenised type of political culture. Reviews relevant literature on the peripheral state, sketches the Somali variant of its historical and social hinterland, and then discusses the record of the post-colonial state's role in development, and suggests an alien material nesting place for it. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)669-690
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Modern African Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
* Abdi Samatar is Assistant Professor of Geography, University of Iowa, Iowa City, and A. I. Samatar is Assistant Professor of Government, St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York. Their research was partially assisted by a grant from the Committee on African Studies of the American Council of Learned Societies and the Social Science Research Council. 1 Crises of habitation at the global level are the subject of many incisive and moving works. These range from concerns with economic recession to militarism and ecological destruction. For a sample of this vast literature, see Mary Kaldor, 'The Global Political Economy', in Alternatives (Guildford), 11,4, October 1986, pp. 431-60; Richard Jolly and Giovanni Andrea Cornea (eds.), 'The Impact of World Recession on Children', special issue ofWorld Development (Oxford), 12, 3, March 1984; Celso Furtado, No to Recession and Unemployment (Reading, 1984); Nigel Harris, Bread and Guns: the world economy in crisis (Harmondsworth, 1983); Mayra Briviniv, Margaret A. Lycette, and William P. Greevy (eds.), Women and Poverty in the Third World (Baltimore, 1983); Ruth L. Sivard, World Military and Social Expenditures (Washington, D.C., 1986); and Michael Radclift, Development and the Environment Crisis (London, 1984).

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