“This volume provides lucid commentary on situations which defy simple description.… It is impossible to do justice to all the contributors. The essays are uniformly interesting and the volume is a contribution both to the ethnography of the Horn of Africa and the wider literature on ethnicity and warfare.”
“Ethnicity and Conflict in the Horn of Africa is a timely contribution both to the understanding of the puzzling conflicts that seem to abound in the postcolonial experience of this region and to the growing re-examination of ethnic identities, groups, conflicts, and concepts. These case studies present a wealth of cultural, historical, and political information…The authors clearly show the fluidity and contingency of a variety of ethnic identities and attempt to reconceptualize the processes that have come to define their conflicts as ethnic.”
International Review of African Historical Studies
“The detailed insights and understanding of ethnic motivation described here should be of interest to a wider audience than anthropologists, in fact to all those involved in the fields of aid, development or conflict solution.”
Conflicts in the Horn have all too often dominated press coverage of Africa. This book exposes the subtle and ambiguous role ethnicity can plan in social conflict, a role that is nowhere as simple and direct as commonly assumed.
Social conflict is routinely attributed to ethnic differentiation because dividing lines between rival groups often follow ethnic contours and cultural symbolism has proved a potent ideological weapon. The purpose of this book is to examine the nature of the bond linking ethnicity to conflict in a variety of circumstances.
The diverse groups are involved in confrontations at different levels and varying intensity, ranging from elemental struggles for physical survival of groups at the margin of society, to contests for state power and control of resources at the center.
These ten studies from Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Kenya are based on primary research by anthropologists and historians who have long experience of the region. The insights gained from this comparative work help to refine common assumptions about conflict among ethnic groups.
Katsuyoshi Fukui is professor in the department of cultural anthropology at Kyoto University. More info →
John Markakis is professor of African Studies in the department of history and archaeology at the University of Crete. More info →
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“These two volumes clearly demonstrate the efforts by a wide range of African scholars to explain the roots, routes, regimes and resolution of African conflicts and how to re-build post-conflict societies. They offer sober and serious analyses, eschewing the sensationalism of the western media and the sophistry of some of the scholars in the global North for whom African conflicts are at worst a distraction and at best a confirmation of their pet racist and petty universalist theories.”
The outbreak of numerous and simultaneous violent conflicts around the globe in the past decade resulted in immense human suffering and countless lost lives. In part, both results were aided by inactivity or by belated and often misplaced responses by the international community to the embattled groups.
The politics of identity and ethnicity will remain a fundamental characteristic of African modernity. For this reason, historians and anthropologists have joined political scientists in a discussion about the ways in which democracy can develop in multicultural societies.
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