The production of clan segregation in urban Somalia: Historical Geographies of Hargeisa

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This article explores the historical making and unmaking of the urban character of Hargeisa. Based on data obtained through a combination of urban ethnographic methods, interviews, and archival sources, it scrutinizes the nexus between governance and segregation, contextualizing it in a long history to shed light on how the city's form has been produced and reproduced over time. I argue that urban governance was, and still remains, a crucial factor in understanding the process and practices that gave rise to the emergence and perpetuation of segregation in the city. I also argue that the interaction between the state and the people can provide important clues in understanding Hargeisa's spatial character. For instance, the use of kinship as a means of negotiating access to services and support demonstrates how governance practices intersect with social dynamics in shaping the configuration and reconfiguration of the city. In so doing, the article deepens understanding of the interface between social, political, historical and spatial organization in the Somali peninsula.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-62
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Historical Geography
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021


  • And kinship
  • Clan
  • Ethnic
  • Municipal governance
  • Somalia
  • Sub-ethnic
  • Urban form
  • Urban segregation

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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