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Initiating Change in Highland Ethiopia
Causes and Consequences of Cultural Transformation

£24.99

  • Date Published: July 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521037761

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About the Authors
  • In a rural community in Southern Ethiopia, there are two types of rituals performed by the same people. Historical evidence suggests that one has shown remarkable stability over the years, while the other has undergone massive transformations. External factors are the same, so how is this to be explained? In this 2002 book, Dena Freeman focuses on ethnographical and historical data from the Gamo Highlands of Southern Ethiopia to tackle the question of cultural change and transformation. She uses a comparative perspective and contrasts the continuity in sacrificial rituals with the rapid divergence and differentiation in initiations. Freeman argues that although external change drives internal cultural transformation, the way in which it does is greatly influenced by the structural organization of the cultural systems themselves. This insight leads to a rethinking of the analytic tension between structure and agency that is at the heart of contemporary anthropological theory.

    • Of interest to both anthropologists and historians
    • Presents ethnographic and historical data about a little-known and fascinating country
    • Provides a theoretical framework for understanding cultural change
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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2007
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521037761
    • length: 192 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 148 x 11 mm
    • weight: 0.296kg
    • contains: 16 b/w illus. 3 maps 6 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    Acknowledgements
    Select glossary
    1. Introduction: theorising change
    2. The recent history of the Gamo Highlands
    3. Production and reproduction
    4. The sacrificial system
    5. The initiatory system
    6. Experiencing change
    7. Assemblies and incremental cultural change
    8. Transformation versus devolution: the organisational dynamics of change
    Notes
    Bibliography
    Index.

  • Author

    Dena Freeman, Queens' College, Cambridge
    Dena Freeman is Research Fellow of Queens' College at the University of Cambridge.

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