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Ideoscapes in the World Society: Framing Violence in Somalia

Bakonyi, Jutta

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The article uses the example of the Somali war to analyse how globally travelling ideas and political concepts are adapted to local settings and translated into frames that promote collective action and feature violence. It outlines how two ideas with universal claim, nationalism and modernisation were combined with an anti-colonial rhetoric and evolved into the meta-narrative of Somali history. This meta-narrative changed little, and keywords such as (pan-Somali) nationalism, anti-colonialism, development, sovereignty structure most of the discursive repertoires of political actors in Somalia. The main difference is that politicized clan affiliations were during the war dragged out of their shadowy existence and placed in the spot-light of political practice. They alone were however not sufficient to justify claims to power, but were complemented by ‘injustice’, ‘modernisation’ and ‘territorial’ narratives that justified violent deeds as ‘liberation’, ‘defence’ or ‘territorial rights’. Islamists employed similar key narratives and revived the pan-Somali anti-colonialist nationalism, but rooted it in a religious rational. Their ability to abandon culturalised frames contributed to their success.


Bakonyi, J. (2015). Ideoscapes in the World Society: Framing Violence in Somalia. Civil Wars, 17(2), 242-265.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 11, 2015
Online Publication Date Oct 11, 2015
Publication Date Oct 11, 2015
Deposit Date Oct 21, 2015
Publicly Available Date Apr 11, 2017
Journal Civil Wars
Print ISSN 1369-8249
Electronic ISSN 1743-968X
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 17
Issue 2
Pages 242-265
Keywords Somalia, Civil war, Nationalism, Modernisation, Clan, Religion, Islamist militias


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