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Accepted Paper:

Decentralization to the household in Oromia, Ethiopia: the case of the garee misoma in state-led rural road construction  
Rony Emmenegger (University of Zurich)

Paper short abstract:


Paper long abstract:

In Ethiopia, the country's four-tiered administrative/decentralized structure has recently been strengthened by the creation of garee in the Oromia region. A garee consists of a group of households, which is mobilized for development purposes. Its establishment has been accompanied by considerable controversy. While critics describe the garee as a mechanism of control and repression, the government presents it as an answer to popular demand for development. Through ethnographically grounded analyses, this paper explores the everyday practices and the role of garee in state-led development activities, particularly rural road construction. Guided by anthropology and sociology of development, the paper describes how practices and rhetorics contribute to the construction of the state-peasant relation in which the state orders and the peasantry obeys. The paper reveals that the garee intensifies the state's intrusive power but at the same time intensifies a struggle over meaning of different actors' roles and the state-peasant relation.

Panel W090
A regional crisis of global consequence: conflict and political imagination in the Horn of Africa and its diaspora
  Session 1