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Decentralization to the household: expansion and limits of state power in rural Oromiya


Emmenegger, R; Keno, S; Hagmann, T (2011). Decentralization to the household: expansion and limits of state power in rural Oromiya. Journal of Eastern African Studies, 5(4):733-754.

Abstract

This article sheds light on the impacts and dynamics of the latest decentralization phase in Ethiopia, which seeks to professionalize and democratize local government. Based on recent field research in Oromiya Region, we draw attention to the paradoxes inherent in the top-down decentralization of public administration within an authoritarian one-party state. On the one hand, decentralization in Oromiya has empowered kebele administrations and facilitated the expansion of service delivery into rural hinterlands. In particular the sub-kebele state and party structure is instrumentalized by local governments to mobilize and control households. On the other hand, state authority remains limited as peasants resist and subvert state-led development works and kebele officials must rely on clientelistic networks to implement policies. Consequently, decentralization and kebele reform in post-1991 Ethiopia have so far neither altered the tradition of hierarchical state–society relations nor improved the lack of genuine representative democracy at kebele level.

Abstract

This article sheds light on the impacts and dynamics of the latest decentralization phase in Ethiopia, which seeks to professionalize and democratize local government. Based on recent field research in Oromiya Region, we draw attention to the paradoxes inherent in the top-down decentralization of public administration within an authoritarian one-party state. On the one hand, decentralization in Oromiya has empowered kebele administrations and facilitated the expansion of service delivery into rural hinterlands. In particular the sub-kebele state and party structure is instrumentalized by local governments to mobilize and control households. On the other hand, state authority remains limited as peasants resist and subvert state-led development works and kebele officials must rely on clientelistic networks to implement policies. Consequently, decentralization and kebele reform in post-1991 Ethiopia have so far neither altered the tradition of hierarchical state–society relations nor improved the lack of genuine representative democracy at kebele level.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:21 Mar 2012 10:02
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:41
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1753-1055
Additional Information:This is an electronic version of an article published in Emmenegger, R; Keno, S; Hagmann, T (2011). Decentralization to the household: expansion and limits of state power in rural Oromiya. Journal of Eastern African Studies, 5(4):733-754. Journal of Eastern African Studies is available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=1753-1055&volume=5&issue=4&spage=733
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/17531055.2011.642530

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