2006 Student Research Conference:
19th Annual Student Research Conference

Social Science

Warlord Politics in Somalia: A Deep Case Study and Theory Test
Benjamin D. Coate
Dr. Paul Parker, Faculty Mentor

William Reno’s book, Warlord Politics and African States, is the authoritative source on warlord politics in sub-Saharan Africa. Why, then, does Reno’s book, which consists of four deep case studies, exclude Somalia-- perhaps the clearest example of a warlord-run state? This study is a deep case analysis which will propose a modification to Reno’s theory on warlord politics in African states. After demonstrating that Somalia certainly fits Reno’s definition of warlordism, careful analysis will examine the different dimensions of the theory and specific aspects of Somalia. Although strong patronage networks, which Reno focuses on in all the case studies, were present before Somalia’s official collapse in 1991, the main difference between Somalia and other failed states is the lack of resources, and therefore low levels of private foreign investment in Somalia.

Keywords: Somalia, state collapse, warlord, state failure, African politics, William Reno

Topic(s):Political Science

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 44-3
Location: VH 1232
Time: 1:45

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