New Nationalism and/or the Resurgence of Nationalism(s) in the Horn of Africa?

Open Panel

The Horn of Africa is undergoing a profound transformation. However, despite promising reforms and changes in some countries, both from below and above, continuities with past practices still endure and deep local cleavages are resurfacing posing unprecedented challenges to ruling parties, their leaderships and citizens. Are we witnessing the emergence of a new kind of nationalism in the Horn of Africa and of a new brand of nationalist leaders or, instead, does this transformation reflect the resurgence of deeply entrenched nationalism(s)? What are the similarities and differences between the new leaderships and their predecessors? How can we understand these political projects taking populism, authoritarianism and ethnicism into consideration together with new nationalism and/or the resurgence of nationalism(s)? Finally, what are the potential ramifications of the increased saliency of nationalism(s) on political mobilization, electoral behavior, political systems as well as the ramifications of the regional and global political arenas’ dynamics to these local processes of transformation.
A pattern of power has long characterized the Horn of Africa’s security dynamics. As an outcome the region is characterized by a volatile pattern of alliance formation. The Horn of Africa is once again at the epicenter of global economic shifts with significant strategic and political implications for the region.
The panel welcomes papers that seek to address the following questions: To what extent will the states in the region be able to contain centrifugal forces and at the same time guarantee a more just domestic political order that seeks to address ethnic, regional, religious and sub-national grievances? To what extent the pattern of power which has characterized the Horn of Africa’s security dynamics is being subordinated to external actors’ rivalry in the region? Is their agency undermined by the ramifications of the rivalry between the Gulf Monarchies and the unprecedented level of engagement of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia? What role can the Horn of Africa’s political actors play to guarantee that the intersection between these global, regional and local dynamics does not undermine the fragile domestic processes of social re-engineering in a way that may in the long-term hamper state decay?