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Accepted Paper:

An anthropological perspective on state-building in Somaliland: Traveling models of Public Finance Management and the emergence of political ownership  
Monica Fagioli

Paper short abstract:

This ethnographic study of the recent history of implementation of Public Finance Management Reform in Somaliland shows the specific contribution anthropology can offer to understand the complex effects of traveling models of intervention in specific contexts.

Paper long abstract:

Approaching state-building in Somaliland as an ethnographic object, this paper looks at conflicting views, coexisting models, competing approaches, and translation processes of the Public Finance Management (PFM) reform implemented in Somaliland by UNDP and the World Bank in the last two decades. This paper dwells on deep descriptions of negotiations, adaptation, re-appropriations, and conflicting moments to unpack the complex relationship between prescriptive ideas informing programs of PFM and their enactments in the field. In describing the processes of translation of the PFM reform, it pays particular attention to the aspirations and political ideas of an emerging class of young Somali civil servants, who take ownership of the PFM reform while remaining critical of international intervention in their country.

Drawing on science and technology studies, this ethnography of tecno-political interventions in Somaliland focuses on the specificities of a “traveling model” of international governance – the PFM reform – and observes two kinds of effects: the erasure of political claims and conflict in stabilizing this model of governance, and the emergence of new political ownership while strengthening ideas of national identity. Going beyond prescriptive analyses of much international relation and development studies, this anthropological study of intervention escapes binary alternatives of (un-)effective and (in-)efficient programs and contributes to a more complex understanding of the actual effects of intervention by highlighting its contradictions and repurposing alternatives by Somali civil servants.

Panel Irre02a
Beyond success and failure, the war on terror, and liberal peace: charting new directions for an anthropology of international intervention I
  Session 1 Wednesday 31 March, 2021, -