BOOK LAUNCH – Citizens, Civil Society, and Activism under the EPRDF Regime in Ethiopia


Citizens, Civil Society, and Activism under the EPRDF Regime in Ethiopia

Friday 31th May, 9.30 AM

@ French Center for Ethiopian Studies, Berhanou Abebe Library (CFEE, Jan Meda)


In the presence of the co-editor of the book Camille Pellerin (Uppsala University / Addis Abeba University) and authors: Kiya Gezahegne (Social Anthropology, Addis Ababa University), Tegbaru Yared (Institute for Security Studies), Befeqadu Hailu (Centre for Advancement of Rights and Democracy) & Yihenew Alemu (School of Social Sciences and Humanities & School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dire Dawa University).



Citizens, Civil Society, and Activism under the EPRDF Regime in Ethiopia. An Analysis from Below

Editors: Camille Pellerin (Uppsala University / AAU) & Logan Cochrane (Hamad Bin Khalifa University / Hawassa University)

Publishing: McGill-Queen’s Studies in Protest, Power, and Resistance

Year: 2023

More details and for ordering: HERE


Analyzing state-society relations in authoritarian settings from co-optation to contestation

In 2014-15, the Ethiopian government, together with many academics and observers, was surprised by the outbreak of anti-government protests, as large-scale public contestation of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) had been largely absent in the regime’s history. The dominant narrative about the EPRDF regime was that it was a top-down government, using authoritarian methods to ensure the population abided by its visions and directives, and describing its role in paternalistic ways, such as being the protector and guardian of the people.

Changing this narrative, Citizens, Civil Society, and Activism under the EPRDF Regime in Ethiopia considers how citizens and civil society expressed their interests and exerted their agency in an authoritarian setting. Focusing on the EPRDF regime over a period of three decades up to 2019, the book explores civic activism in Ethiopia, presenting diverse examples of how citizens have (re)shaped the country. Challenging state-centric readings of state-society relations under EPRDF governance, this collection provides a counternarrative that emphasizes the role and agency of citizens and civil society. The contributing authors draw on a heuristic analytical framework that examines different types of interactions between civil society and state actors (co-optation, co-operation, coexistence, and contestation) and captures the ways in which civil society actors make their voices heard.

At a time when authoritarian forms of governance are increasingly prevalent across the world, this critically important collection offers insight into how citizens claim their agency and challenge state power in apparently top-down contexts.


Introduction: Civil Society Activism under Authoritarian Rule – From Co-optation to Contestation
Camille Louise Pellerin

1 Contesting the EPRDF Government: Mass Resistance, Political Mobilisation, and Legal Activism in the 1990s
Semeredin Yimer and Logan Cochrane

2 Achievements and Resilience: Unspoken Stories of Civil Society Organisations in Ethiopia
Gebre Yntiso

3 Eliminating Violence against Women in Ethiopia: Social Media Campaigns
Betel B. Birhanu, Hanna Lemma, and Kiya Gezahegne

4 Ethiopia’s Women’s Development Army: A Moral and Political-Economic Perspective on Unpaid, State-Organised Rural Women’s Labour
Kenneth Maes, Svea Closser, Yihenew Tesfaye, Roza Abesha Feyisa, and Emily Baranski

5 Zone 9 Bloggers and Activism Collective: Civil Society and Online Activism in Addis Ababa
Befeqadu Hailu

6 A Non-violent Struggle against EPRDF’s Hegemony: The Case of the Muslim Protest (2011-15)
Faiz Mohammed Kassim and Dereje Feyissa Dori

7 Speaking Power to ‘Truth’: An Outsider’s Look into the Oromo Youth Resistance against the EPRDF
Tegbaru Yared

8 Civic Activism and Civil Society Reform in Ethiopia
Camille Louise Pellerin and Abduletif Kedir Idris

Conclusion: Beyond the Public Silence – Civil Society Activism and Authoritarian Rule in Ethiopia
Camille Louise Pellerin and Logan Cochrane

OpenEdition vous propose de citer ce billet de la manière suivante :
Secrétaire Scientifique (24 mai 2024). BOOK LAUNCH – Citizens, Civil Society, and Activism under the EPRDF Regime in Ethiopia. UN ŒIL SUR LA CORNE / AN EYE ON THE HORN. Consulté le 16 juillet 2024 à l’adresse

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