IAS Annual Report 2014-15 - page 18

Overview
Emergent Orders
Waiting for Tipping Points:
police development in Africa
The transfer of western norms and practices to police
forces in sub-Saharan Africa is a substantial part of a
billion-dollar business, yet the results of most reform
projects are localised, superficial and temporary.
Alice Hills suggested that police development is a
valuable tool for exploring the meaning of causality in
complex, non-linear and non-Western environments
that are nevertheless subject to the globalised norms of
security governance circulated by, for example, inter-
governmental organisations such as the UN. Specifically,
she noted, it allows engagement with notions, such
as tipping points, which reflect Western attempts to
identify recognisable phenomena capable of facilitating
development and progress. In practice, however, the
resilience of police forces makes tracing causality a
problematic art, rather than a science, while challenging
the notion that dramatic discontinuities can be
transformative. Alice Hills highlighted that this is notably
so in the case of Somalia’s three public police forces.
Although Somalia’s experience is extreme, its police share
sufficient commonalities with police elsewhere to offer
a baseline for developing a more balanced and realistic
understanding of tipping points.
Whilst
Emergence and Extinction
was concerned with
innovation and fragility of emergence, for IAS Fellow
Professor
Alice Hills
, her research question during her
Fellowship was why fragile states work and what can
be done to facilitate the emergence or re-emergence of
locally appropriate and internationally acceptable forms
of governance and institutions, particularly in relation to
Somalia. Her programme of seminars,
The (Re)emergence of
Governance in a Region of Fragile States: the Horn of Africa
,
were designed to assess the current state of knowledge, and
explore the implications of limited statehood and stateness
for the emergence of locally-appropriate and internationally
acceptable forms of governance. The series confirmed that
while Somalia’s situation is extreme, its experience is relevant
for theoretical and policy-relevant debates on governance
in areas of limited statehood more generally, offering
opportunities to identify the minimal conditions under which
governance can develop, the relative importance of formality,
the contextual factors determining what development-
oriented governance might look like, and the ways in which
ideas derived from the past re-emerge at certain times,
together with the dislocations, forgetting and re-discoveries
that characterize societies that prize genealogy.
The series facilitated networking especially between Durham
and Oxford specialists.
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