This book reconceptualises the idea of the state in Ethiopia. It focuses on the cultural and political processes of state formation, and reveals the complexity of state–society relations as they unfold in the everyday context of local life. It does so by exploring specific configurations of governance practices, development activities and discourses, and bureaucratic representations that are rooted in the ongoing contingencies of power relations and social contexts. The book places the lives, subjectivities, and experiences of farmers, pastoralists, women, traders, shopkeepers, daily labourers, the rural youth, state functionaries, and NGO workers in two rural localities in different regions of Ethiopia at the centre of ethnographic enquiry.
The book offers a rich and compelling ethnographic account while making distinctive theoretical contributions to the analysis of the state in Africa. It foregrounds the Ethiopian experience as an important component of the politics of everyday life in Africa, at the same time as making important linkages between Ethiopia and politics in the rest of the continent that are often overlooked in Ethiopia-specific studies. Providing an invaluable insight into the workings of the state in Ethiopia, it will be of interest to scholars of state, society, development, governance, and African politics.
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