The Ethiopian post-transition security sector reform experience

The Ethiopian state underwent major restructuring at the beginning of the 1990s. It replaced a once highly-centralised state with a federal system, adopting a democratic constitution, the transfer of power through elections, and the recognition of the rights associated with freedom of expression.

More specifically, the Ethiopian security sector was transformed from 1991 onwards; political changes led to a new conception of threats and security needs, and the institutional structure of the country’s security agencies was brought into alignment with the new federal arrangements. The defence review was developed in the context of this wider security sector transformation.

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Theorizing (Dis)order: Exploratory Remarks

The philosopher Eric Heller wrote, ‘Be careful how you interpret the world; it is like that.’[29] One of the challenges facing the social scientist is that a deep knowledge of a particular issue, or a particular place, allows the scholar to write about it with an authoritative subjectivity. In my own writings on Sudan, I have approached the same topic (e.g. political violence) from different perspectives, each time with some explanatory purchase. These different frameworks of explanation may be incompatible with one another, but that has not hindered me from using them.

My concluding point in this paper is therefore, that (dis)order may be in the eye of the beholder, or the pen of the writer, as much as in the world that is being observed or described. However, rather than lapsing into an irretrievable subjectivity and a resigned agnosticism, I prefer to be cautious about what can and cannot be explained, and to insist on always bearing in mind the limitations of any particular point of view.

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