Transformations of violence in twentieth-century Ethiopia : cultural roots, political conjunctures

TitleTransformations of violence in twentieth-century Ethiopia : cultural roots, political conjunctures
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1995
AuthorsG.J. Abbink
Secondary TitleFocaal : tijdschrift voor antropologieFocaal
Pagination57 - 77
Date Published1995///
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsEthiopia, history, modernization, Political change, violence

This paper examines the transformation of violence in Ethiopian society, chiefly in the context of processes of 'modernization' and political change since the turn of the century, but focusing on the most recent period (1970s-1980s). Forms and practices of violence varied in the different periods of modern Ethiopian history. The author distinguishes roughly four periods where a change of political regime initiated a different sort of performance of violence, viz. the period of expansion under Minelik II (d. 1913) and the Yasu-Zewditu era (1889-1930), the Italian intermezzo (1935-1941), the post-War Haile Selassie period (1941-1974), and the 'revolutionary' period (1974-1991). The present 'transitional' period is only marginally discussed. The most important period was that of the revolution. It can be argued that a radical break with the past occurred under the regime of the 'Dergue', the military council ruling Ethiopia after 1974. The breaking point was the period of the 'Red Terror' in the years 1976-1978. It was a period of intense physical and psychological violence which became rooted in society and had a lasting effect on the collective mind and on social relations among Ethiopians. Bibliogr., notes, ref

IR handle/ Full text URL
Citation Key1962