Ethiopian Modernization: Opportunities and Derailments



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This book examines and theoretically articulates the various facets and crucial phases of Ethiopia’s encounter with the modern world and the challenges its efforts to modernize faced during the course of three consecutive yet highly divergent political regimes. These phases roughly correspond to Haile Selassie’s and post-Haile Selassie’s Ethiopia, with the post-period spreading over two milestones, namely, the revolutionary shift of the Provisional Military Administrative Council (the Derg) and the no less critical reshaping of the Ethiopian political system by an ethnonationalist agenda subsequent to the Tigray People's Liberation Front’s (TPLF) seizure of state power. Despite their drastic differences, a main theme deriving from a shared feature unites these three regimes: using different ideological frameworks, they all promised modernization and social progress under the directive of a strong and centralized state. Not only did the promise never materialize, but it was also overshadowed by social conflicts and even civil wars, the severity of which has created doubt in the minds of many observers as to the viability of Ethiopia as a united country. The book exerts a major effort to analyze the cause and the different manifestations of the common feature tying the three regimes, with the view of laying out its detrimental impact and identifying the direction liable to remove it. To this end, the book extends its inquiry into post-TPLF Ethiopia to see whether the current Abiy Ahmed’s government is putting in place the reforms needed to deal with the chronic problems of the country.

Publication Date



Dayton, OH


Africana Studies | Philosophy


This book is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND) License. Copyright © 2023, Messay Kebede.

Cover, Title Page, Table of Contents, Introduction