The Horn of Africa as Common Homeland
Interview with Leenco Lata
What makes this book different from others on globalisation and the politics of the horn of Africa?
First, the elements on which the contemporary states are presumed to
be founded: nation, people, territory, and sovereignty are discussed
discretely in the existing literature on globalisation. This book
brings together these elements and traces the history of attempts to
match them. In so doing it establishes that the search for a neat
congruence created more problems than it solved.
Second, the history of conflicts in each of the states of the Horn of Africa has also been analysed discretely in the existing studies. This book demonstrates that conflicts within states and between states tend to connect seamlessly in the region. And when this is seen within the context of pressures on the state in the era of heightened globalisation the need to adopt multi-dimensional self-determination becomes self-evident.
Who would benefit from this book?
The book is of interest to students of politics generally and those concerned specifically with the Horn of Africa. The first part of the book, which looks at the impact of globalisation on the state, would be of interest to anybody interested in the ongoing debate concerning the state, nationalism, ethnicity, and self-determination in the contemporary period. The book would be of particular interest to specialists in the politics of the Horn of Africa because it proposes a unique approach to the resolution of the multiple conflicts raging in the region.
What sets apart the politics of the horn of Africa from that of the rest of the Continent?
While conflicts in most of the rest of Africa have been against regimes, those of the Horn of Africa go beyond that to challenge the state. This region is unique in that quests for self-determination have been tabled in different forms and at different times. And these conflicts have thus far resulted in the collapse of one state, Somalia, and the break up of another, Ethiopia. Even after these developments, struggles for self-determination persist.
What sources did this book draw on to look for innovative ideas?
The book draws on Feminist criticism of liberal democracy to articulate a refined version of deliberative democracy as an alternative appropriate for traditional societies and societies afflicted by fragmentation. The alternative being pioneered by Feminist scholars happens to tally very closely with existing grassroots democratic cultures of the peoples of the Horn of Africa. Writings on nations without states are the other source on which this book draws extensively. Feminist criticism of liberal democracy and the criticism of the traditional nation-state by advocates for the rights of nations without state come together in this work, and are applied to the Horn reality in a creative way.
To what particular school of thought do you, as the author, belong?
The author of this book gives more importance to addressing the day-to-day lived experiences of the grassroots communities of the Horn of Africa than allegiance to any particular school of thought. This is the work of a political activist motivated more by the search for answers to practical questions than scholarly theorization.