The Political Crisis in Somalia and the Clan System: A Sociological Review of News Media Analyses

Hirat Abdi Muse, Minnesota State University, Mankato


This research explores the roles and patterns of clan conflicts as underlying causes and outcomes of the political crises in Somalia. Following a historical research design, I intended to explain the Somali clan-based political system and clan involvement in the political conflicts in Somalia. I used the historical method and qualitative content analysis of the international news media reports (for e.g., 50 news reports by CNN, BBC, Hiiran, and Shabelle) from 1991–2019 on clan involvement in the Somalian civil war. The study was guided by the sociological theory of economic, social, cultural, and symbolic capital by Pierre Bourdieu. I identified how various types of capital or other resources possessed by the different clans became involved as causes and outcomes of the political crises in Somalia. A theory-informed coding system will be developed to analyze news media articles from two international (BBC and CNN) and two local (Hiiran and Shabelle) news media sources, which would help to understand and explain the patterns of clan differences, the causes, and outcomes of conflict in Somalia. The link between the clan system and political crises would explain the deep-rooted problems in Somalia. I argue that Somalia have fallen victim to civil war due to an effort to eradicate the traditional Somali culture and common fidelities based on clanship and the ancestry system.


Rights Statement

In Copyright