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A Critical Theory Approach to Inequality in Somali Society: Rethinking Class and Identity For the Gabooye Collective in Somaliland

Ekman, Amina-Bahja; (2021) A Critical Theory Approach to Inequality in Somali Society: Rethinking Class and Identity For the Gabooye Collective in Somaliland. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

In contrast to the primordial approach, where Somali society and social relations are described through the usual rubrics of kinship and culture, this thesis argues that Somali society consists of both opposing identities and interests contingent on factors beyond the presumed forms of clan-based interactions. Considering the social relations of a society once described as uniquely egalitarian and homogenous, this view needs critical revision as it fails to consider Somali society as one that is susceptible to change and stimuli emanating from sources other than kinship and culture. Accordingly, the thesis undertakes a critical analysis of the dialectic and causal relationship between identity and class, explored through the perceptions and experiences of inequality of the Gabooye collective of Somaliland. Using a framework, which includes a critical theorisation of redistribution, recognition and representation to clarify the different structures of inequality and their innate claims for justice, the thesis asks how changes in the Somali political economy during 1969- 1988 altered the ‘Rules of the Game’ and the ‘Rules of the Mind’ and accordingly affected the principle of participatory parity for the Gabooye collective. The adapted framework synthesises a critical yet novel understanding of justice where formulations from both the Holy Qur’an and western moral philosophy are used to inform the analysis. Accordingly, this innovative framework is applied as an analytical tool to help uncover the normative spaces for justice in Somaliland and their capacity to address the types of justice claims made from groups that are outside of the traditional clan system. The thesis presents a definition of the Gabooye of Somaliland as a collective comparable to caste, positioned between the structural understanding of class and the ideological notion of identity and status. This original definition refines the collective’s relationship to both the capitalist class system and the Somali kinship-based order and helps us better to understand the continuing socio-economic effects of changes to the political economy. This is a critical contribution to the contemporary theorisation of Somali social relations.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: A Critical Theory Approach to Inequality in Somali Society: Rethinking Class and Identity For the Gabooye Collective in Somaliland
Event: University College london
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Development Planning Unit
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10121332
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