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Title:Beyond Clannishness and Colonialism: Understanding Political Disorder in Ethiopia's Somali Region, 1991-2004
Author:Hagmann, TobiasISNI
Year:2005
Periodical:Journal of Modern African Studies
Volume:43
Issue:4
Period:December
Pages:509-536
Language:English
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Subjects:local politics
central-local government relations
Somali
patronage
Ethnic and Race Relations
Politics and Government
History and Exploration
External link:http://ejournals.ebsco.com/direct.asp?ArticleID=4E62A90D2F226D65D706
Abstract:This article proposes an alternative interpretation of political disorder in Ethiopia's Somali Regional State since the rise to power of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) in 1991. Some observers have perceived contemporary politics in the former Ogaden as an example of 'internal colonization' by highland Ethiopians. Others attribute political instability to the 'nomadic culture' inherent in the Somali clan structure and the ineptness of its political leaders. This study argues that neither of these two politicized narratives grasps the contradictory interactions between the federal Ethiopian government and its Somali periphery, nor the recursive relations between State and society. With reference to the literature on neopatrimonialism, the author elucidates political disorder in the Somali Region by empirically describing hybrid political domination, institutional instability, and patronage relations, showing how neopatrimonial rule translates into contested statehood in the region and political devices ranging from military coercion to subtle cooptation. Rather than unilateral domination, a complex web of power and manipulation between parts of the federal and regional authorities animates political disorder in Ethiopia's Somali Region. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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