We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Institute of Advanced Study

Emergent Orders

The (Re)emergence of Governance in a Region of Fragile States: the Horn of Africa 

The minimal conditions for capacity building in fragile states are controversial, yet conventional forms of institutional development are re-emerging even in collapsed states such as Somalia. This prompts the question of why such states work at all and what can be done to facilitate the emergence or re-emergence of internationally acceptable institutions. 

This project's three research seminars are designed to assess the current state of knowledge, and explore the implications of limited statehood and stateness for the emergence of locally-appropriate and internationally acceptable forms of governance. The first seminar focuses on Somalia's experience and what it tells us about the minimal conditions of governance required to address under-development, and the impact of memories of repressive state-based authorities. Somalia's situation is undoubtedly extreme, yet its experience is relevant for debates on governance more broadly. The record of the main Somali entities of Somaliland, Puntland and Benaadir/Mogadishu illustrates the range of possibilities that emerge when the institutions and processes on which institutions are seemingly depend fragment — and remain fragmented for 20 years. It also offers opportunities to explore under-researched topics such as the impact of urbanisation on conceptualisation of security. 

The second seminar will compare emergent structures of governance in Somaliland, Eritrea and the Republic of South Sudan. All three countries (though Somaliland is internationally not recognized as such) emerged from wars, and a comparison of developments promises insights into the challenges of reconstruction, state building and demilitarisation in militarised and volatile societies. 

The third seminar will review international reconstruction interventions in the region, particularly in relation to Kenya and Ethiopia, which are considered stable and relatively peaceful (though both have experienced intermittent violence). Both countries have intervention forces in Somalia and both play an important role in the international-donor architecture of the Horn, with many international interventions managed from Kenya. 

A fourth meeting will draft a research proposal addressing conceptualisations of governance, security and development in the Horn of Africa.

Attendance is by invitation only, but further information is available from Professor Alice Hills ( or Dr Jutta Bakonyi (