Identifying nationality in Djibouti (1946-2004)

Governing the population of the Gulf of Aden
By Simon Imbert-Vier

This paper studies the methods used by the administration of French Somaliland to establish the nationality of the inhabitants after the Second World War and up to the late independence of the territory in 1977. It shows that, failing to use the tools provided for by law, the administration used civil status to select the French nationals from amongst the inhabitants in an attempt to maintain its sovereignty over the territory, by mobilising categories produced during the colonial construction. After independence, comparable practices were implemented by the new state to consolidate the power of its leaders and restrict access to the sharing of the country’s strategic rent, reshaping the categories according to political developments.

Go to the article on