Sarah Craze (detail), 2015. Photograph: Nicole Davis

Sarah Craze

Somali Piracy as a Manifestation of State Failure: A Historical Context for Somali Piracy and its Suppression‘ (PhD in History, 2019).

This thesis establishes the Somali piracy epidemic of 2008–2012 as a conflict between how Somalis perceived their own sovereign authority and the rules of centralised state norms established by the international community. I argue that as the dominant force in the conflict, the international community’s efforts to apply these rules was complicated by the re-emergence of historic contradictions between the need for immediate deterrence of pirates and the long-term objectives for piracy suppression.

While ‘state failure’ provided a convenient explanation for the harsh reality of life in Somalia, it ignored the Somalis’ agency in their post-state collapse state-building efforts. The international community’s ignorance of the state-like authoritative constructs Somalis had built for themselves, especially in Puntland, meant the incomplete ‘state failure’ narrative fed the UN’s decision to suppress Somali piracy. Meanwhile, for ship-owners and merchants, piracy historically created a divergence of interests in the piracy’s suppression that had the effect of dispersing the power to stop it. I examine how this situation occurred again in response to Somali piracy.


Supervisors: Associate Professor Richard Pennell, Associate Professor Kate McGregor