This book offers a new understanding of the workings of the everyday Ethiopian state through foregrounding of the everyday politics of state–society relations.
In a series of ethnographic cases, this book provides a lively and stimulating view of the lives and experiences of farmers, pastoralists, women, rural traders, shopkeepers, daily labourers, the rural youth, state functionaries and NGO workers living in two rural localities in different regions of Ethiopia. The book offers a rich, nuanced, and detailed ethnographic work while making distinctive theoretical contributions to the analysis of the state in Africa. Through a close look at the everyday forms of state power, the book foments Africanist understanding of Ethiopian politics, moving beyond the narrative of Ethiopian exceptionalism. In this sense, it foregrounds the Ethiopian experience as an important component of the politics of everyday life and state formation in Africa and makes important linkages between Ethiopia and politics in the rest of the continent that are often overlooked in Ethiopia-specific studies.
Forming an ‘Africanist’ understanding of Ethiopian politics, this book will be of interest to scholars of politics, sociology, anthropology, international development, and state, society, and governance in Africa and Ethiopia.
1. Introduction 2. Contested conceptualisations of Ethiopian statehood 3. The Performative and Affective impulses of Bureaucratic State power 4. Boundary-making: the construction of state-society distinction 5. Corruption Discourses, Moral Idioms and the Ideals of Mengist 6. Demystifying the state: boundary crossing 7. State-territorialisation and Sedentarisation in Borana 8. Development, Class and State Power: patterns of Stratification 9. Development talks, practices and state imagination 10. Governance practices and state ideas