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Daniel Mulugeta Gebrie

PhD Research Student

Contact Details:

Email: d.gebrie@sheffield.ac.uk


Working Thesis Title: Encountering the Everyday Sub-Sahara African state: local governance practices and the construction of state idea in Ethiopia

Start Year: 2013

Supervisors: Professor Graham Harrison and Dr Matt Sleat

Research Topic

The main purpose of my research is to study the practices of local governance and the construction of the sub-Sahara African state from below through the case of Ethiopia. The 1960s, a decade of decolonisation for African states, brought the hope of political, economic, social development and freedom to Africans. However, despite wishes and expectations, Africa plunged into deep political and economic turmoil. The state in Africa, thus, has become the epitome of state failure in social science literatures, particularly, in discourses of development agents and international regimes. Conversely, recent works see the aspects of what is regarded ‘failure’ in African statecraft as a consistent pattern of political behaviour.

This study will abandon the widely held assumption that the state is the entity responsible for the predicaments of the continent, because the idea of a unified state can only serve to reify politically institutionalized power. Africans are not only passive victims of external domination and expropriation, but also are active agents in the construction of their own states.

This research will, therefore, examine the encounters between state actors, non-state actors (NGOs, customary leaders) and the local people in Ethiopia. Ethiopia presents an interesting case for studying the state in Africa using this framework, because it is one of Sub-Sahara African countries with a long tradition of modern centralised state and its state institutions are genuinely rooted in local social and cultural contexts.

Research Interests

  • Africa, Ethiopia, Governance, the Sate, Sovereignty, Humanitarian intervention and International development

Research Group Membership

Governance and Participation  

Previous Education

  • MPhil in Sociology, University of Delhi, India.
  • MA in Sociology, University of Delhi, India.
  • BA in Sociology, University of Gondar, Ethiopia.

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