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Changing Identifications and Alliances in North-east Africa: Volume I: Ethiopia and Kenya

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Volume 2

Integration and Conflict Studies

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Changing Identifications and Alliances in North-east Africa

Volume I: Ethiopia and Kenya

Edited by Günther Schlee and Elizabeth E. Watson

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272 pages, 6 maps, 13 photos, 2 figs, 3 tables, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-603-0 25% OFF! $120.00/£85.00 $90.00/£63.75 Hb Published (October 2009)

ISBN  978-1-78238-329-1 25% OFF! $34.95/£24.00 $26.21/£18.00 Pb Published (October 2013)

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With contributions by many of the leading scholars of the region, these volumes convey both the distinctiveness of these diverse communities and their mutual relationships and reciprocal influences, thus providing an analytical handbook to this important region.  ·  African Studies Review

“…both theoretically and ethnographically, these volumes present a major contribution to contemporary anthropology, as well as social sciences in general.  ·  Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology

“… an excellent introduction to the region and its interconnected peoples, as well as a useful guide to ethnographical approaches applied by international scholarship. ... It brings sharp insights into the pragmatism of ‘traditional identities’ as small-scale societies cope - mostly remarkably successfully - with historical values, the vicissitudes of daily life, and the deep but varying impact of modern states that claim them as ‘subject-citizens.’ ... This is a really worthwhile volume with much to offer at first reading, and as a future reference source of ethnographic description of great historical value.”  ·  Cedric Barnes, SOAS/Africa Research Group, Foreign and Commonwealth Office


Forms of group identity play a prominent role in everyday lives and politics in northeast Africa. Case studies from Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Kenya illustrate the way that identities are formed and change over time, and how local, national, and international politics are interwoven. Specific attention is paid to the impact of modern weaponry, new technologies, religious conversion, food and land shortages, international borders, civil war, and displacement on group identities. Drawing on the expertise of anthropologists, historians and geographers, these volumes provide a significant account of a society profoundly shaped by identity politics and contribute to a better understanding of the nature of conflict and war, and forms of alliance and peacemaking, thus providing a comprehensive portrait of this troubled region.

Günther Schlee is currently the director of the Department of Integration and Conflict at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. His publications include Identities on the Move: Clanship and Pastoralism in Northern Kenya (International African Institute, 1989), How Enemies are Made (Berghahn, 2008), Rendille Proverbs in their Social and Legal Context (with Karaba Sahado) and Boran Proverbs in their Cultural Context (with Abdullahi Shongolo) (both Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe).

Elizabeth E. Watson is a Lecturer in the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge. Recent publications include: 'Local Community, Legitimacy, and Cultural Authenticity in Postconflict Natural Resource Management: Ethiopia and Mozambique’ in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 2006 (with R. Black), and 'Making a Living in the Post-Socialist Periphery: Konso, Ethiopia' in Africa, 2006.

Related Link: See Also: Volume II
Subject: Peace & Conflict Studies General Anthropology General Geography
Area: Africa Middle East & Israel


List of Illustrations
List of Maps, Figures and Tables
List of Abbreviations

Günther Schlee

Space and Time: Introduction to the Geography and Political History
Günther Schlee and Elizabeth E. Watson

Part I. Identification and Insecurity in the Lower Omo Valley

1. The Fate of the Suri: Conflict and Group Tension on the South-West Ethiopian Frontier
Jon Abbink

2. Resistance and Bravery: On Social Meanings of Guns in South-West Ethiopia
Ken Masuda

3. Modernization in the Lower Omo Valley and Adjacent Marches of Eastern Equatoria, Sudan: 1991–2000
Serge Tornay

Part II. Institutions of Identification and Networks of Alliance among Rift Valley Agriculturalists

4. Burji: Versatile by Tradition
Hermann Amborn

5. The Significance of the Oral Traditions of the Burji for Perceiving and Shaping their Inter-ethnic Relations
Alexander Kellner

6. Mobility, Knowledge and Power: Craftsmen in the Borderland
Hermann Amborn

Part III. Land, Identification and the State in Ethiopia

7. ‘We Have Been Sold’: Competing with the State and Dealing with Others
Tadesse Wolde Gossa

8. Identity, Encroachment and Ethnic Relations: the Gumuz and their Neighbours in North-Western Ethiopia
Wolde-Selassie Abbute

9. Debates over Culture in Konso since Decentralization (1991)
Elizabeth E. Watson

10. Changing Alliances of Guji-Oromo and their Neighbours: State Policies and Local Factors
Taddesse Berisso

Part IV. Pastoralists in the Kenya-Ethiopia Borderlands

11. Changing Alliances among the Boran, Garre and Gabra in Northern Kenya and Southern Ethiopia
Günther Schlee

12. Roads to Nowhere: Nomadic Understandings of Space and Ethnicity
John C. Wood

Notes on Contributors

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