Ethiopian Modernization: Opportunities and Derailments



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The critical review of the explanation of the failure of Ethiopian modernization from the perspective of modernization theory, that is, from the alleged contrast between tradition and modernity, has revealed that the concept of derailed modernization is more appropriate than the argument stating that inherent defects prevented Ethiopia’s modernization. The expression “derailed” puts the blame not so much on inner obstacles as on the spoiling of assets and opportunities. The change of approach speaks of engagement into a wandering path, the outcome of which was and still is the multiplication of difficulties. Indeed, obstacles hinder, but they can also be either removed or circumvented. Not so derailment: because it is a wandering path, it initiates a movement that continuously bumps against itself, and so is caught in a self-destructive cycle. Let us see how Haile Selassie laid the foundational phase of the wandering course.

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 V — Derailed Modernization: The Imperial Phase