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What is needed for an integral state are men [and women] of sober mind ... who don't cause an absence of bread in the bakeries, who make trains run, and who provide the factories with new materials and know how to turn the produce of the country into industrial produce, who insure the safety and freedoms of the people ... who enable the network of collective services to function and who do not reduce the people to a despair and to a horrible carnage.

Antonio Gramsci, Marxism and Politics



In introducing our journey towards an "integral state", or indeed polity, we begin in an unlikely place, that is in Somalia, albeit that over the course of this book we shall be spanning the four corners of the globe, as well as the Middle East. Overall then, and for all of us, whereas the significance of introducing an "integral polity", is to embrace nature and culture, as well as society and economy, as a whole, the focus will be relatively more on matters political-and-societal, than on the other three realms, but always from an overall, integral perspective. In this introductory orientation to our composite work we shall turn, in fact, from political taxonomy to political historiography, and thereby from Somali-Americans, the Samatars, to Japanese- American Francis Fukuyama. As such we instigate the trans-cultural approach we shall continually be pursuing.

In Africa, to begin with then, we locate, from the outset, the political divide, or full continuum, between – for political scientists Ahmed and Amid Samatar (1) – the forms of the "disintegrated" state at one extreme, and their "integral" one, at the other. Prior to such, moreover, we shall consider the different political frames, which resonate with our own progressive release of GENE-ius, as we shall see. Moreover, and from the outset, we have selected a Muslim country, Somalia in this case, because without finding an integral orientation to the future of Islamic civilization, the world at large, or international polity, if you like, has little hope of realizing a functional future.

For Ahmed Samatar and his brother Amid then – Ahmed is now Dean of the Institute for Global Citizenship at Macalester College in the U.S. Twin Cities – basic or primal political activities precede the appearance of the state and are not confined to its formal arena. Such primordial groups, typified by small bands and by intimacy or, more precisely, kin attachments, have existed and continue to survive, ever so precariously, in Somalia or, for example, as the Bushmen in the Kalahari desert of Botswana – as illustrated by one of us, Louis Herman – without a formal authority structure solely designed to perform political tasks. Such communities negotiate myriad individual and family interests and idiosyncrasies, in addition to the vagaries of the general material and cultural context, through custom and a set of reciprocal (talantaali in Somali or gemeinschaft in German) but not necessarily equal arrangements.

The seeds of "polity" are buried in those early human activities, and indeed will be resurrected by Herman (see Chapter 16), but the appearance of the state as we have known it is a relatively modern design. One would trace the genetic base and evolution through a number of historical thresholds, which perhaps began with "city republican forms" best exemplified by the little known but pioneering Mesopotamian urban experiences and, later, the other more celebrated version in Classical Greece. These early aggregations of large, but by no means universal, interests and networks, provision of public goods, and the subsequent investments of authority in persons embedded in such institutions, give glimpses of some of the enduring characteristics of what we contemporaneously identify as the state.


The evolution of the idea and structuring of the state, then, is complicated, for the Samatars, and has numerous variations. What is relevant here is to note its ancient pedigree, define its morphology, and point towards its key attributes. They define the state, as such, as:

a constellation of norms, and institutions including those who inhabit them, ostensibly to manage the collective political fate of a given society.

Political destiny includes significant contradictions and concerns that add up to such political identity and direction. Structurally, a state, for the Samatars, has the following features: monopoly on coercion, specific territorial boundaries, a relatively fixed population, economic and cultural functions, sovereignty, and recognition by other states and their organizations. This supreme public power, that is the state, is "a historical phenomenon"; that is, a creation of human beings in interaction which, in turn, also acts in profound ways upon individual and collective life.

Governance, State and Politics

Figure 1.1 Governance, State and Politics

The Samatars start with political frames, which we will now relate to our own integral approach to releasing GENE-ius, here in a political context.

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