International and Civil Implications of an Unrecognized Country: The Case of Somaliland

Kellogg Institute Graduate Research Grants
Grant Year

Numerous countries in the world today, such as Somaliland, Kurdistan, and Taiwan, lack international recognition. Their governments operate with a high degree of autonomy and administrative capacity; their territories have been stabilized for many years; and each possesses a strong national identity. However, the refusal of most international organizations (such as the UN) and powerful states (such as the US) to recognize these states constrains the capacity of their governments to participate fully in international governance. Yet, this phenomenon not only impacts the way that such governments operate, but also their civil societies. I will travel to Hargeisa, Somaliland, in May 2024 to collect participatory ethnographic observations to answer the question: how do NGOs adapt to, and resist, the constraints placed on development resulting from their host country’s unrecognized status? This project will shape future research and policy concerning statehood, democratization, and human and state development.