Tobias' PhD research explores the provision of education services in a context of (relative) absence of state. It does so by merging an ethnographic study of public services with a political sociological analysis of local governance and the state. Based on extensive anthropological fieldwork carried out in Hargeisa, the capital of self-declared Republic of Somaliland in what is officially the Northern part of Somalia, the study focusses on the political dimensions of public service provision in an arena where a range of state and non-state actors are involved in offering education, and where no actor has a monopoly on regulating the sector.
The study is first of its kind to produce rich empirical material on public service delivery from the Somali territories. Moreover, it contributes to and challenges existing theories on state making and local governance in areas of relative absence of state.