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Universität Bayreuth (2021)

The Rise of New Forms of Power, Forced Displacements and Conflict on the Djibouti and Ethopia Border

Abeshu, Gemechu Adimassu

Titre : The Rise of New Forms of Power, Forced Displacements and Conflict on the Djibouti and Ethopia Border.

Auteur : Abeshu, Gemechu Adimassu :

Université de soutenance : Universität Bayreuth

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (Dr Phil) in Anthropology 2021

Résumé
The aim of this dissertation is to describe a new form of power that has emerged on the Ethiopia and Djibouti border. In 2004, Big Man asserted monopoly control over Dobi, the second largest salt mining site in Ethiopia. This dissertation raises the following research questions : What are the characteristics of the new form of power that has emerged over Dobi ? What was the relationship like between the Big Man and the state ? What were the sources of the Big Man’s legitimacy ? What were the sources of the Big Man’s power ? How have groups of actors gained access to Dobi since Big Man’s rise ? What was the relationship like between the Big Man and the local Afar in terms of access control to Dobi ? If there was a conflict, how was it resolved ? To answer these questions, this research relied on symbolic interactionism (Geertz, 1973), extended case method (Burawoy, 1998), and ethnographic principles that prioritize the views of local people. This dissertation criticizes the two prevailing explanations for the emergence of new forms of non-state power : "substitute argument" and "deviation argument". The first argument interprets the rise of new forms of power as a substitute for the dwindling state structure. According to this argument, a new form of power arises where the state is insufficient, or the local authorities do not have sufficient power. The second argument supports the thesis that after its introduction by colonial powers, African states deviated from the path of Weber’s model of the modern state. According to this argument, the prevailing forms of power in Africa are embedded in the cultures of the societies in which they operate. To make sense of the emergence of Big Man on Dobi, this dissertation drew on the concept of heterarchy as refined by Georg Klute and his colleagues (Klute, 2013). This study has shown that the Big Man occupies both state and non-state spheres : as district administrator and as clan leader and businessman, a finding which contradicts the "statist" assumption that state officials and "traditional" authorities are in an opposing relationship. In fact, the relationship between the Big Man and the state has fluctuated between accommodation and conflict. This study has also revealed that the change of ownership of Dobi, the subsequent displacement of the local Afar (some of whom crossed the border into Djibouti and took shelter with their kinsmen), and the nullification of the authorities of clan leaders from deciding on their territory did not go smoothly ; it rather led to conflict. This conflict may be seen as a wrestling between the Big Man’s attempt to enforce his "para-sovereignity" (Klute, 2013) over Dobi and the local Afar’s attempt to reassert what Kyriakides calls "the eligibility to exist and authority to act" (Kyriakides et al, 2018). Since 2004, members of the local Afar have brought their plea to the state and neo-traditional legal avenues seventeen times ; however, it was not resolved, and the conflict continues to this day.

Mots clés  : Afar ; Big Men ; Dobi ; Ethiopia ; Forced Displacments ; Conflicts

Présentation

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Page publiée le 1er novembre 2022