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Somalia's insecurity and the normalisation of violence.

Vertigans, Stephen



Elias P. Hoffman


In this chapter, the transformation of violence in Somalia is explored alongside concomitant shifting levels of insecurity and social constraint. Key historical, regional, national and international factors behind Somalia's structural weaknesses are examined. It is argued that shifting levels of social and individual constraints and the weakening and discarding of other forms of social controls have contributed to the diminution of levels of pacification and the normalisation of violence. These factors help to explain the recent pragmatic popularity of Islamic courts and institutions that have contributed to some degrees of security and predictability. Consequently I am not challenging the perception that Somalia faces considerable challenges with violence endemic. I am, however, seeking to embed these forms of violence within longer term social and political processes. Unfortunately the identification of the deep rooted nature of many of today's problems does not provide easy solutions. On the contrary, this analysis suggests that isolated acts of aid and/or intervention will not address the causes of violence over the longer term and acknowledges that the various attempts at state-building have ultimately proved detrimental. Nevertheless, addressing the fundamental problems facing Somalia can only become a possibility, however distant, when the long standing complexities are acknowledged.


VERTIGANS, S. 2010. Somalia's insecurity and the normalisation of violence. In Hoffman, E.P. (ed.) Somalia: economic, political and social issues. New York: Nova Science Publishers [online], chapter 2, pages 41-60. Available from:

Online Publication Date Dec 31, 2010
Publication Date Dec 31, 2010
Deposit Date Mar 30, 2018
Publicly Available Date Mar 30, 2018
Publisher Nova Science Publishers
Pages 41-60
Book Title Somalia: economic, political and social issues
Chapter Number Chapter 2
ISBN 9781617283383; 9781616682224
Keywords Somalia; Violence; International shipping; Droughts
Public URL
Publisher URL


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