Stable Instability: renewed turmoil in Ethiopia (part 2)

(This is the second part of an earlier published article) By Jan Abbink        Next to the demands for more economic rights and protection, the wider background factors of the spreading protests were: mounting dissatisfaction with authoritarian party politics, the interfering presence of party cadres in local life, the lack of accountability of the government, unresolved land allocation issues, lack of proper compensation for those removed from the land, the dismantling of civil society organizations in the last decade, the lack of political and civic freedoms, and the lack of a well-working justice system (as people say, one …

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Stable instability: renewed turmoil in Ethiopia (part 1)

By Jan Abbink    Ethiopia in 2016 is seeing a new round of major turmoil: massive protests and demonstrations have led to severe state repression, with more than 600 people killed by security forces, thousands injured, and tens of thousands arrested (as of September 2016). The story gets somewhat repetitive, as many rounds of political and ‘ethnic’ clashes have occurred in the country since 1991 when the current regime took power. This time, the protests of masses of unarmed students, youths, peasants and others started peaceful – i.e. there was no agenda of armed insurrection ‘fed by diaspora Ethiopians and …

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Pregnancies, high-school drop-outs and personal struggles: The joys of anthropological fieldwork

By Laetitia Simorangkir     Now that I completed my thesis (on care arrangements in South African communities), I can really say that I love anthropology and do research. But there were times I did not like my work at all. In this blog I will explain why. “Naoko told me that Salma had come to tell her that she was pregnant. Although the women were not related, Naoko seemed to take a parental-role towards Salma.” A fellow student, who reviewed the draft of my thesis, commented on this statement saying that I should explain more about the parent-child relationship: “Don’t leave it …

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African-Americans returning to Ghana: A photo blog

By Marije Maliepaard            My Master’s research is about African-Americans who return to Ghana after their ancestors got enslaved and brought to the Americas during the slave trade. My research group themselves have not physically lived in Africa before but they do have the feeling they return. A famous African-American and Pan-Africanist who also returned was W.E.B. Du Bois. He was one of the founders of the American civil rights organization for ‘colored’ people, NAACP. Eventually, he settled in Accra, Ghana, but passed away three years later. He is buried next to his former house, which is now turned into a …

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The reality of race: fieldwork experiences from Ghana

By Marije Maliepaard     Recently my Colombian friend and I were talking about being white in a country like Ghana. I told him I had never been aware of my ‘whiteness’ until I got to Ghana. In reply he said “of course you weren’t aware, you are part of the majority in your country”. We silently continued our walk along the main road in Accra as I pondered his comment. I broke the silence and said, “It’s not only me being part of the majority but I just don’t see it. I don’t recognize people as being black or white.” He firmly …

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A different kind of pilgrimage

By Dimetri Whitfield    The most surprising thing for me about conducting fieldwork is that you encounter all these interesting people that ultimately do not end up in your final project. Alieu Sowe (this is a pseudonym to protect his identity) is one such person. He is Fula by ethnicity, Gambian by nationality, taxi driver by occupation, and refugee by aspiration. One cool February evening, after his 14 hour work-day, and my 3 hours of writing field notes, we sat down and chatted. Like most 20-something Gambian men, “backway” was on his mind. “Backway” is the illegal method of migrating …

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Oerwoudgeluiden

Door Ton Salman            Excuses dat ik er nu pas mee kom; de krantenberichten erover zijn al oud. De kwestie is dat het krantenkaternen betreft waaraan ik meestal geen prioriteit geef. Maar beter laat dan nooit. Het ging over voetbal, en over “oerwoudgeluiden”. Daarop vergastte een nogal onverkwikkelijk voetbalpubliek een zwarte speler, steeds wanneer hij aan de bal kwam. Een manier om een rekening te vereffenen over club-trouw, heb ik begrepen. Ten overvloede: dit gaat natuurlijk om tuig-van-de-richel, tinnef en geteisem. Maar daarover wilde ik het eigenlijk niet hebben. Het gaat me om de term: “oerwoudgeluiden”. Merkwaardig. En meer dan dat: …

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Time to look at girls differently

By Sophie Pape            Are you happy with your life? The way you have constructed it? What if you were born in another country? Would it be the same? It is likely that it will be quite different. Questions like these popped up while watching the documentary Time to look at girls: Migrants in Bangladesh and Ethiopia, which was shown by Marina de Regt during the EASA Anthropology of Children and Youth Seminar on 19 November 2015. Since June 2009, this EASA Network organizes monthly meetings, which bring together students, researchers, NGOs and policy makers working with children …

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