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The Roots of Somali Political Culture

M.J. Fox
The Roots of Somali Political Culture
ISBN: 978-1-62637-204-7
ISBN: 978-1-62637-541-3
2015/237 pages/LC: 2015024634
A FirstForumPress Book
"M.J. Fox masterfully weaves together an array of rarely used historical sources to explain in an accessible way how the political cultures of three regions of Somalia have evolved so distinctively. This book contributes immensely to our understanding the legacy of present-day Somalia."—-Jacob Zenn, Georgetown University

"An important book, learned, lucid, and accessible. It succeeds in bringing a complex history of conflicts and peaceful change vividly to life, demonstrating in so many ways the relevance of tracing the evolution of political culture for understanding current developments."—Mats Hammarstrom, Uppsala University

"Excellent.... a book that sheds new light on the political culture of Somaliland, Puntland, and Somalia."—Christopher L. Daniels, Florida A&M University


The fragmentation of the former Somali Democratic Republic into three distinctive entities, together with the events that have ensued since then, make for a complex political puzzle that raises a plethora of questions.  M.J. Fox explores some of the most fundamental of those questions: Have the "three Somalias" of today always been as disparate as they are now? How deeply rooted are those differences? Why has southern Somalia remained steeped in violence while Somaliland and Puntland are relatively peaceful and stable? And does political culture have any role to play in contemporary Somali politics?

As she traces the compelling influences of political culture over time, Fox provides a unique comparative analysis of  Somaliland, Puntland, and Somalia in the twenty-first century.


M.J. Fox is an independent scholar, formerly with the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University.


  • A Fragmented State.
  • Precolonial Foundations.
  • British Administration in Somaliland.
  • The Impact of Italian Colonization.
  • Unifying North and South.
  • The Legacy of Political Culture.