Territory and Justice: a research network

August 7, 2010

Somalia: The perfect failed state

Filed under: Uncategorized — caranine @ 7:47 am

The case of the failed state is interesting because it forces the question: who has rights over territory and resources when the state has failed?  (And what are the contents of those rights?)

This Der Spiegel (English) article describes Somalia as the ‘perfect’ failed state.  The BBC News also has an informative profile of Somalia along with a list of articles.

Somaliland – by contrast – is a functioning independent democratic republic within the northern part of the geographic domain of Somalia.  They have not yet received international recognition.  Here is a quick profile of the region.



  1. […] and the question of territory Posted on August 9, 2010 by stuartelden Cara Nine at Territory and Justice raises the question of Somalia. Her reference is to a piece in Der Spiegel and some BBC pieces. For […]

    Pingback by Somalia and the question of territory | Progressive Geographies — August 9, 2010 @ 11:22 am | Reply

  2. Thanks for that comment, Stuart. It’s true ‘territory’ is an ambiguous term. For my part, I believe that political theorists coming at this topic from an international law perspective are entering the term through the concept of ‘territorial rights’, and I often (perhaps sloppily) use the term ‘territory’ to refer to the direct object of the territorial right. I argue that a territorial right is normally thought to entail:
    (A) Jurisdictional rights over persons within the geographical region;
    (B) Jurisdictional rights over resources within the geographical region;
    (C) Rights to the value generated from (B), such as profit from the use and sale of resources; and
    (D) The authority to determine habitation, immigration, and citizenship rights regarding the region.

    And so above, when I said ‘who has rights over the territory’, I am referring to this set of rights, whether or not these rights are the rights in question, if they come apart (as I argue they do….), etc.

    Comment by caranine — August 23, 2010 @ 7:22 am | Reply

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