Is khat a social ill? Ethical argument about a stimulant among the learned Ethiopians

ASC working paper ; 108

Abstract: This study focuses on the khat phenomenon by analyzing experiences and the thinking of learned Ethiopians towards this substance using a phenomenographic method. The educated bracket of Ethiopian society is exposed to chewing during the high school and university years. A significant number of them engage in chewing, mainly for intellectual stimulation and recreation. Khat is highly visible in the agricultural fields of rural landscapes in several regions and most urban areas. Khat enterprise impacts development through its association with food security, human health, institutions, income, social impact and policy. Despite its far reaching utility to a significant number of the Ethiopian population, khat is not free from social scourge. The most important question that drives the discourse hinges on how to characterize khat: beneficial or harmful, hence, right or wrong. Understanding this ethical dilemma among the learned Ethiopians can have strong implications, as they can exert influence over future khat policy.

Author(s) / editor(s)

Gessesse Dessie

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