War & the politics of identity in Ethiopia : making enemies & allies in the Horn of Africa /
Kjetil Tronvoll.
Woodbridge, Suffolk ; Rochester, NY : James Currey, 2009.
xiv, 239 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
184701612X (hbk.), 9781847016126 (hbk.)
More Details
series title
Woodbridge, Suffolk ; Rochester, NY : James Currey, 2009.
184701612X (hbk.)
9781847016126 (hbk.)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 220-231) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Kjetil Tronvoll is Professor of Human Rights, Peace and Conflict Studies at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo. His other publications include Brothers at War: Making Sense of the Eritrean-Ethiopian War (co-author; James Currey/Ohio University Press, 2000) and The Ethiopian Red Terror Trials: Transitional Justice Challenged (co-editor; James Currey 2009).
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2010-02-01:
The book begins with the promise to view war from the perspective of those who undertake it. It refers to conflicts in Ethiopia, and indeed all Africa, as crises of identity, nationality, and state formation. The case study is the war initiated by Eritrea in May 1988 that turned allies into enemies and unleashed an unforeseen chain reaction. The tragedy may have begun at Haile Selassie University, initiated by Marxist intellectuals who considered class and suppressed nationalities as the most prominent contradictions within Ethiopian society. They ultimately replaced their emperor with Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam and his military junta. The result was predictable carnage and divisive politics until the junta collapsed in 1991. The postrevolutionary elite then deconstructed the nation into ethnic-geographic component parts with more predictable suffering. The accentuated rivalries of Amhara, Tigray, and Eritrea elite may have precipitated the 1988 war on the one hand, and renewed attempts to reconstruct the Ethiopean/Habeshi national identity on the other. Historic empires may be viewed as precursors to today's federal states. Their transformation into well-governed federal unions may prove less painful than divisive wars of disintegration. Detailed and well written with glossary, references, and index. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, and research collections. F. L. Mokhtari National Defense University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 2010
Reference & Research Book News, August 2010
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Main Description
Images of war, narratives of suffering and notions of ethnicity are intrinsically linked to Western perceptions of Africa. Filtered through a mostly international media the information of African wars is confined to narrow categories of explanation emerging from and adapted to a Western history and political culture. This book aims at reversing this process; to look at war and suffering from the point of view of those who fight it and suffer through it. In doing so it reveals that the simplistic models explaining contemporary wars in Africa which are reproduced in a Western discourse are basically false. This book examines the understanding of war and the impact of warfare on the formation and conceptualisation of identities in Ethiopia. Building on historical trajectories of enemy images, the recent Eritean-Ethiopian war (1998-2000) is used as an empirical backdrop to explore war's formative impact, by analysing politics of identity and shifting perceptions of enemies and allies. 'exceptional depth ... coherent, well-written, and constantly stimulating.' -- Professor Christopher Clapham, 'Tronvoll's historical reading of how old enemies become friends, and vice versa, is a worthy contribution to the still small but growing ethnographic literature on war.' -- Professor Johan Pottier
Unpaid Annotation
Examines war and the impact of warfare on identity formation in Ethiopia.
Unpaid Annotation
This book examines the understanding of war and the impact of warfare on the formation and conceptualisation of identities in Ethiopia.
Bowker Data Service Summary
This text explores the understanding of war and the impact of warfare on the formation and conceptualisation of identities in Ethiopia.
Table of Contents
Preface & Acknowledgementsp. viii
Selected Glossaryp. xi
Acronymsp. xiv
Introduction Making Enemies & Alliesp. 1
Land, Hierarchy & Alliances in Highland Ethiopiap. 23
Historical Trajectories of Enemy Imagesp. 36
Alternating Enemies & Allies Ethnicity in Playp. 61
War Behind the Front Lines Individual Approachesp. 99
Reconstructing 'Ethiopianness' Competing Nationalismsp. 130
Ethiopia & its Malcontents Purifying the Nationp. 175
Conclusion Arresting Ethiopian Nationalismp. 197
Postscript: After War, New Enemiesp. 208
List of Official Interviewsp. 218
Referencesp. 220
Indexp. 233
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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