lisa monaghan

D. Feyissa. Power and Discontents in Ethopia's Western Periphery 1941-1991.

This paper chronicles and analyses how peoples of the periphery engaged the Ethiopian state as it sought to expand and consolidate its power at its margins. It does that through a case study of Anywaa’s modes of resistance in the Gambella region against two political regimes: the imperial and the socialist states. Anywaa’s determined resistance is very intriguing given their smaller demographic size and the huge gap in military capability between the contenders. Anywaa resistance against hegemonic and exclusionary practices of the Ethiopian state is discussed as it was animated by a self-esteem that draws on cherished autonomy and the code of reciprocity that promptly reacts against hegemonic projects as well as a political sensibility embedded in a deeply rooted code o territoriality and particularistic configuration of an ethnic identity. Anywaa resistance is also examined in its trans-national dimension; how they made use of their cross-border settlement along the Ethio-Sudanese border as a political resource. The empirical base of the contribution is the data obtained from archival sources; complemented by interviews with some of the key political actors at various times. The contribution seeks to broaden the empirical base of the ‘power and protest’ literature in Ethiopia hitherto dominated by the ‘typical’ examples from northern and southern regions by bringing to light how peoples of the western periphery negotiated, critiqued, contested and resisted hegemonic projects such as the centralising thrust in the process of state formation in Ethiopia; a process which involved violent conquest; de-humanization; de-historicization, and cultural uprooting of local communities.

Category: Anthropology and History

Sub-category: Regional