Accidental Citizens: Etherealizing Securitized Identities of Somalis in Kenya; Contesting Representation, Identity and Belonging

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen; Lunds universitet/Master of Science in Development Studies; Lunds universitet/Graduate School

Abstract: The Kenyan security apparatus has undergone immense transformations particularly after Kenya’s military incursion into Southern Somalia in 2011. The intervention dubbed ‘Operation Linda Nchi’ was an attempt to protect Kenya’s territorial sovereignty and create a buffer zone against the Somali linked Al-Shabab insurgency. At the time, the risk of Al-shabab was insignificant however following the operation, attacks on Kenya’s soil has escalated beyond control as a result of the growing influence of Al-Shabab. These events have seen growing visibilities of Somalis in Kenya and more attempts by the government to militarize and manage their identities. Fundamentally it has seen the resurfacing of the age old ‘Somali Question’ and contestations of ‘who belongs’ and ‘who is a threat’ within Kenya’s civic landscape. This paper traces the entry and confinement of the Somali identity within the security sphere. Adopting postcolonial framings, I will problematize how securitization as a modern State strategy is used in constructing, othering and managing certain identities. In its entirety the paper demonstrates two key aspects; the crisis of the postcolonial state as rendered in its pursuit for peace, secondly I will explore the multi-layered intersections of power, identity, citizenship and belonging of Kenyan Somalis and how its influenced by securitized framings. I rely on belonging and identity as conceptual tools to interrogate questions of difference, essentialism, inclusion and exclusion

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