An indigenous view of the New World Order: Somalia and the ostensible rule of law

Pat Lauderdale, Pietro Toggia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


In the 'New World Order,' Somalia is characterized as a deviant society, especially by Western countries. This characterization is magnified by focusing upon armed conflicts among different groups in Somalia and is marked by a neglect of global forces and history, including indigenous perspectives. The benchmark for judging the nature and scale of such crises is the condition of statelessness, measured by the absence of a central political authority and the modern claim of an ostensible universal rule of law. However, the attempted replacement of sacred places and kinship identities of indigenous peoples with the identity of the New World Order that emphasizes self-interested and self-maximizing individuals, i.e., Western individualism, has led not to a melting pot, but a boiling pot. The Somalis, as with many other ethnic and indigenous groups throughout the world, do not find a meaningful sense of life by being defined as modern individuals via the state. Any viable alternative to disentangling Somalia and similar indigenous peoples from current and future crises might benefit from recognition and accomodation to their traditional ways of life and systems of governance. Moreover, future work should include explications of the impact of global hegemony, the increasing role of the United Nations in advancing foreign policy, military interventions under the facade of peacekeeping, and the acceleration of a market economy ostensibly directed by global forces such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-177
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Asian and African Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development


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