Gender, State-collapse, Conflict and State-building: Recent Research from the Somali Context
Prescribing and policing gender norms and relations, in other words controlling society’s experiences of femininity and masculinity, along with social exclusion practices, is arguably at the very heart of the protracted and violent struggle for political and ideological power in today’s Somalia. The research material that my session will be drawing on comes from two recent qualitative studies: the Impact of War on Somali Men (Rift Valley Institute) and Learning from Kismayo: a study of women’s roles and responsibilities in clan-related armed violence in the Somali conflict (Life & Peace with Peace Direct). The second study was prompted by the widespread exclusion of Somali women from peace processes and political settlements. Together, the studies’ findings provide a detailed picture of the gendered dynamics and impacts of Somalia's post-1991 violence. They deepen understanding of the complex power and gender relations at play in a context of an absent, weak or fragile state. At the same time, they give rise to many new questions, some of which we can perhaps discuss during the session.
Judith has worked in development and peacebuilding for 30 years, as a practitioner and researcher, developing a particular focus on gender and conflict. As a researcher, uses she participatory approach and qualitative methods. Among many others, she authored a ground-breaking conception study with the Rift Valley Institute on war’s impact on Somali men.