(2011) JLP 63: 143-177
Louise Wiuff Moe
A number of recent post-colonial liberal peace critiques have moved beyond the counter-positioning of ‘liberal/Western’ versus ‘communal/non-Western’ peace and political order. Instead, they draw attention to the interstices – the processes of contestation, repulsion and accommodation – between these approaches. Some argue that the most promising, if contentious, forms of political ordering and peace building take place exactly in a hybrid of state-based and liberal practices, and local customs and ‘everyday’ life in post-conflict settings.
Through a case-study of Somaliland, this article examines the potentials and limits of such a hybrid approach to advancing peace and political order. The analysis in particular engages with the largely uncharted issue of how political legitimacy is constructed or undermined, in the context of post-conflict hybrid political orders.
Somaliland’s reconstruction process was characterised by very low international intervention when compared to other so-called ‘fragile states’ and post-conflict settings. The article looks at how political institutions and structures of governance were constituted from within Somaliland through local agencies and formation of alliances, which cut across the dichotomies of ‘state/non-state’ and ‘liberal/traditional’ forms of governance and legitimacy. It illustrates the advantages, as well as some of the challenges, of this process of political ordering and hybridization, where the domestic sphere was allowed to be constitutive for the creation of legitimacy.
Examining a small-scale international-local initiative of peace dialogues and community policing in Somaliland, the article also discusses how international support may engage with ‘everyday’ strategies of self-securing, and deliberately ‘facilitate’ hybridity in the context of conflict management and justice.
The analysis offers an empirical anchoring of the concepts of ‘hybridity’ and the ‘everyday’, but also demonstrates how the case of Somaliland speaks more broadly to post-colonial liberal peace critiques and the call for new approaches to peace and political order.