Circuits of Production and Channels of State: Pastoralists and the State in the Northern Frontier District of Kenya (1910–1958)

  • Natasha Issa Shivji
Part of the Palgrave Handbooks in IPE book series (PHIPE)


This chapter historicizes the claims that were made by secessionist movements in the Northern Frontier District (NFD) of belonging to the “Greater Somali” region through their shared pre-colonial history of flourishing city-states and networks of trade, and their homogeneity as people sharing a single language and religion. I analyze these claims to produce a historical narrative that places the moment of political crisis-secession firmly within pre-colonial histories of long-distance trade and migrations that were disrupted during the colonial period but reconstituted on the periphery to create relations of exploitation and divergent class interests. The secessionist movements not only revealed a moment of political crisis but additionally a moment of economic contradiction that could no longer be concealed by the rhetoric of the nation or the centralizing functions of the state. The secessionist movements constituted within them various class interests and only formed a united front insofar as these class interests (between small shop-owners, landowners, peasants and a laboring class) were concealed through pre-colonial relations of dependency, resurrected during colonialism as relations of exploitation and security. This chapter sets the history for the formation of these class interests and the ways they were expressed in a moment of political crisis.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Natasha Issa Shivji
    • 1
  1. 1.University of DodomaDodomaTanzania

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