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The Politics of Metanoia

Towards a Post-Nationalistic Political Theology in Ethiopia


Theodros A. Teklu

This book examines and critiques secular modes of self-writing in Ethiopia that put considerable emphasis on the enactment of national/ethnic identity leading to an equivocal situation wherein the ethos that binds people has been greatly eroded. Its analysis demonstrates that such modes of thought are flawed not only on the notion of the human subject, but also inappropriately position the religious or the theological. The book argues that a theological turn generates theological resources for a social horizon of hope – for the apotheosis of the bond of togetherness – which risks thinking politics in an altogether different way beyond the ethno-national logic. This, as the author argues, paves the way for the possibility of a new political subject and the reinvention of politics.
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Part II Ethno-political Imagination

← 84 | 85 →Part II


Drawing upon various thinkers, the previous part has generated some conceptual tools in order to understand subject formation. In the present part, the different strands of theories shall be deployed to analyse the Ethiopian context. Because of the strong theoretical trajectory in this study one may ask how such a western approach of reading and evaluating material relates to ethno-national political context of Ethiopia. As I have briefly demonstrated in the Introduction, Ethiopian scholarship has been influenced by western thinking and western modes of analysis.1 To be sure, the socio-political history of Ethiopia had seen much Marxist thinking immersed into its intellectual self-understanding. Due to an anti-Eurocentric sensibility, some may opt for an altogether repudiation of theories or methodologies honed in the West (as we shall see in the ‘Theological Introduction’ in Part III). Although claiming to be ‘non-methodological’ may seem viable, some kind of hermeneutics is always unavoidable. Rather, I espouse that a better constructive alternative is an appropriate appropriation of theoretical frameworks. In point of fact, the use of conceptual tools enables us to examine, explicate and critique the historical ideological processes of subject formation, and ultimately prepares the way for a theological critique in the next part.

The main purpose of these chapters is to examine the mechanisms or technologies by which ethno-political identities are constructed in Ethiopia. I shall pursue the analysis in two chapters. Chapter 4, in particular, shall present an account of the process of nationalisation in Ethiopia (the politics of integration)...

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