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Productivity of refugee camps: social and political dynamics from the Somaliland-Ethiopia border (1988–2001)

Luca Ciabarri

Africa Spectrum, 2008, vol. 43, issue 1, 67-90

Abstract: Refugee camps are not simply places where temporary protection and primary assistance are provided, but also places in which political and social production occurs. In areas such as the Horn of Africa, with a long tradition of international interventions in the form of humanitarian aid, refugee camps have been intrinsically embedded within local social and political power structures and dynamics, which have deeply transformed both their aims and actions. The purpose of this article is to analyse such transformations as part of a local social history, in particular under the peculiar condition of state collapse which characterised Somaliland in the early 1990s. Furthermore, I wish to show how – in the course of interlaced institutional collapse, war and international interventions – new equilibriums and forms of government have emerged, thus contributing to the depiction of a kind of genealogy of the new public realm in Somaliland, composed of various actors standing beside the state.

Date: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:gig:afjour:v:43:y:2008:i:1:p:67-90