Ethiopian Modernization: Opportunities and Derailments



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After studying the link between survival and modernization, the next logical step is to provide concrete answers to the question of why Ethiopia’s impressive record of survival failed to initiate a successful process of modernization. In fact, the greater the resolution to survive, the more determined should have been the drive toward modernization. Yet, not only is Ethiopia still ranked among the poorest countries, but it is also entangled in numerous internal conflicts, the primary consequence of which is an unending political instability threatening its very existence. However, before delving into the reasons for the Ethiopian failure to modernize, we must make sure that the analysis is sufficiently free from the drawbacks of the Eurocentric account, that is, from an account solely based on the self-assumed normative standing of the West. Indeed, in speaking of failure, the study commits to providing a native explanation, the very one that derives the failure from the choices made by Ethiopian elite groups.

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.

Chapter IV — Eurocentric versus Ethio-centric Approaches to Ethiopia’s Modernization Lag: The Concept of Derailment