Race, Class, and the Legacy of Slavery
The Ethnography of Political Violence
Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
296 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 x 0.00 mm, 11 illus.
- ISBN: 9780812216882
- Published: May 1999
In 1991 the Somali state collapsed. Once heralded as the only true nation-state in Africa, the Somalia of the 1990s suffered brutal internecine warfare. At the same time a politically created famine caused the deaths of a half a million people and the flight of a million refugees.
During the civil war, scholarly and popular analyses explained Somalia's disintegration as the result of ancestral hatreds played out in warfare between various clans and subclans. In Unraveling Somalia, Catherine Besteman challenges this view and argues that the actual pattern of violence—inflicted disproportionately on rural southerners—contradicts the prevailing model of ethnic homogeneity and clan opposition. She contends that the dissolution of the Somali nation-state can be understood only by recognizing that over the past century and a half there emerged in Somalia a social order based on principles other than simple clan organization—a social order deeply stratified on the basis of race, status, class, region, and language.
PT. I. INTRODUCTION
1. Somalia from the Margins: An Alternative Approach
2. Fieldwork, Surprises, and Historical Anthropology
PT. II. THE HISTORICAL CREATION OF THE GOSHA
3. Slavery and the Jubba Valley Frontier
4. The Settlement of the Upper Gosha, 1895-1988
PT. III. THE GOSHA SPACE IN SOMALI SOCIETY
5. Hard Hair: Somali Constructions of Gosha Inferiority
6. Between Domination and Collusion: The Ambiguity of Gosha Life
7. Negotiating Hegemony and Producing Culture
PT. IV. VIOLENCE AND THE STATE
8. The Political Economy of Subordination
"Besteman's well-written and important book is a fine example of how careful scholarship can expose the realities behind widely held beliefs."—Choice