Vertical Love

Forms of Submission and Top-Down Power in Orthodox Ethiopia

in Social Analysis
View More View Less
  • 1 University of Edinburgh dmalara@exseed.ed.ac.uk
  • 2 University of Edinburgh Tom.Boylston@ed.ac.uk
Restricted access

Abstract

The classical sociological literature on Amhara hierarchy describes a society based on open relations of domination and an obsession with top-down power. This article asks how these accounts can be reconciled with the strong ethics of love and care that ground daily life in Amhara. We argue that love and care, like power, are understood in broadly asymmetrical terms rather than as egalitarian forms of relationship. As such, they play into wider discourses of hierarchy, but also serve to blur the distinction between legitimate authority and illegitimate power.

Contributor Notes

Diego Maria Malara is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh. His research looks at changing practices of religious mediation and emerging forms of urban subjectivity and relatedness among Ethiopian Orthodox city dwellers in Addis Ababa and Bahir Dar.

Tom Boylston is a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh. He specializes in ritual, media, and materiality in Ethiopian Orthodox Christian society.

Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology

  • Abu-Lughod, Lila. 1986. Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society. Berkeley: University of California Press.

  • Bonacci, Giulia. 2000. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the State 1974–1991: Analysis of an Ambiguous Religious Policy. London: Centre of Ethiopian Studies.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Borneman, John. 1997. “Caring and Being Cared For: Displacing Marriage, Kinship, Gender and Sexuality.” International Social Science Journal 49, no. 154: 573584.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Boylston, Tom. 2012. “The Shade of the Divine: Approaching the Sacred in an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Community.” PhD diss., London School of Economics and Political Science.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Clapham, Christopher S. 1969. Haile-Selassie’s Government. New York: Praeger.

  • Clapham, Christopher S. 1988. Transformation and Continuity in Revolutionary Ethiopia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Cole, Jennifer, and Lynn M. Thomas, eds. 2009. Love in Africa. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • Di Nunzio, Marco. 2014. “Thugs, Spies and Vigilantes: Community Policing and Street Politics in Inner City Addis Ababa.” Africa 84, no. 3: 444465.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Donham, Donald L. 1986. “Old Abyssinia and the New Ethiopian Empire: Themes in Social History.” Pp. 348 in The Southern Marches of Imperial Ethiopia: Essays in History and Social Anthropology, ed. Donald Donham and Wendy James. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Donham, Donald L. 1999. Marxist Modern: An Ethnographic History of the Ethiopian Revolution. Berkeley: University of California Press; Oxford: James Currey.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dumont, Louis. 1970. Homo Hierarchicus: The Caste System and Its Implications. Trans. Mark Sainsbury. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

  • Dumont, Louis. [1980] 2013. “On Value.” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 3, no. 1: 287315.

  • Gell, Alfred. 2011. “On Love.” Anthropology of this Century 2. http://aotcpress.com/articles/love/ (accessed 3 February 2015).

  • Girma Mohammed. 2012. Understanding Religion and Social Change in Ethiopia: Toward a Hermeneutic of Covenant. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hannig, Anita. 2014. “Spiritual Border Crossings: Childbirth, Postpartum Seclusion and Religious Alterity in Amhara, Ethiopia.” Africa 84, no. 2: 294313.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hardt, Michael. 2011. “For Love or Money.” Cultural Anthropology 26, no. 4: 676682.

  • Hoben, Allan. 1970. “Social Stratification in Traditional Amhara Society.” Pp. 187224 in Social Stratification in Africa, ed. Arthur Tuden and Leonard Plotnicov. New York: Free Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hoben, Allan. 1973. Land Tenure among the Amhara of Ethiopia: The Dynamics of Cognatic Descent. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • Kaplan, Steven. 1984. The Monastic Holy Man and the Christianization of Early Solomonic Ethiopia. Wiesbaden: Steiner Verlag.

  • Kaplan, Steven. 1986. “The Ethiopian Cult of the Saints: A Preliminary Investigation.” Paideuma 32: 113.

  • Klaits, Frederick. 2009. “Faith and the Intersubjectivity of Care in Botswana.” Africa Today 56, no. 1: 320.

  • Lee, Ralph. 2011. “Symbolic Interpretations in Ethiopic and Ephremic Literature.” PhD diss., School of Oriental and African Studies.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Levine, Donald N. 1965. Wax and Gold: Tradition and Innovation in Ethiopian Culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • Macfarlane, Alan. 1987. The Culture of Capitalism. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

  • Mahmood, Saba. 2001a. “Feminist Theory, Embodiment, and the Docile Agent: Some Reflections on the Egyptian Islamic Revival.” Cultural Anthropology 16, no. 2: 202236.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mahmood, Saba. 2001b. “Rehearsed Spontaneity and the Conventionality of Ritual: Disciplines of Salāt.” American Ethnologist 28, no. 4: 827853.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Maimire Mennasemay. 2009. “The Dekike Estifanos: Towards an Ethiopian Critical Theory.” Horn of Africa 27: 64118.

  • Mayblin, Maya. 2012. “The Madness of Mothers: Agape Love and the Maternal Myth in Northeast Brazil.” American Ethnologist 114, no. 2: 240252.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Messay Kebede. 1999. Survival and Modernization—Ethiopia’s Enigmatic Present: A Philosophical Discourse. Lawrenceville, NJ: Red Sea Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Molvaer, Reidulf K. 1995. Socialization and Social Control in Ethiopia. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

  • Muehlebach, Andrea. 2013. “The Catholicization of Neoliberalism: On Love and Welfare in Lombardy, Italy.” American Anthropologist 115, no. 3: 452465.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pankhurst, Alula. 1992. Resettlement and Famine in Ethiopia: The Villagers’ Experience. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

  • Pankhurst, Alula. 2003. “Introduction: Dimensions and Conceptions of Marginalisation.” Pp. 126 in Peripheral People: The Excluded Minorities of Ethiopia, ed. Dena Freeman and Alula Pankhurst. Lawrenceville, NJ: Red Sea Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pankhurst, Rita. 1997. “The Coffee Ceremony and the History of Coffee Consumption in Ethiopia.” Pp. 516539 in Ethiopia in Broader Perspective. Papers of the XIIIth International Conference of Ethiopian Studies, Kyoto, 12–17 December 1997, ed. Katsuyoshi Fukui, Eisei Kurimoto, and Masayoshi Shigeta. Kyoto: Shokado Booksellers.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Povinelli, Elizabeth A. 2006. The Empire of Love: Toward a Theory of Intimacy, Genealogy, and Carnality. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Reddy, William M. 2012. The Making of Romantic Love: Longing and Sexuality in Europe, South Asia, and Japan, 900–1200 ce. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Robbins, Joel. 2007. “Between Reproduction and Freedom: Morality, Value, and Radical Cultural Change.” Ethnos 72, no. 3: 293314.

  • Robbins, Joel. 2013. “Beyond the Suffering Subject: Toward an Anthropology of the Good.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 19, no. 3: 447462.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schneider, Jane. 1990. “Spirits and the Spirit of Capitalism.” Pp. 2453 in Religious Orthodoxy and Popular Faith in European Society, ed. Ellen Badone. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Strathern, Marilyn. 1992. “Parts and Wholes: Refiguring Relationships in a Post-plural World.” Pp. 75104 in Conceptualizing Society, ed. Adam Kuper. London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Teferi Abate Adem. 2012. “The Local Politics of Africa’s Green Revolution in South Wollo.” African Studies Review 55, no. 3: 81102.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vaughan, Megan. 2011. “The History of Romantic Love in Sub-Saharan Africa: Between Interest and Emotion.” Proceedings of the British Academy 167, no. 1: 124

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Walker, Harry. 2012. “Demonic Trade: Debt, Materiality, and Agency in Amazonia.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 18, no. 1: 140159.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Weber, Max. 1949. The Methodology of the Social Sciences. Trans. Edward A. Shils. and Henry A. Finch. New York: Free Press.

  • Weissleder, Wolfgang. 1965. “The Political Ecology of Amhara Domination.” PhD diss., University of Chicago.

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 62 62 25
Full Text Views 19 19 1
PDF Downloads 9 9 0