`Tenants of the State': The Limitations of Revolutionary Agrarian Transformation in Ethiopia, 1974-1991

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


This study is about the agrarian reforms and policies of the military regime in Ethiopia in the period of its rule between 1974 and 1991. It is a descriptive and qualitative study of a set of agrarian policies which seeks to establish both the unrealized potential of the early and baisc reforms such as the 1975 Land Reform and Peasant Associations and the limitations of subsquent policies of collectivization, compulsory villagization, resettlement and centralized command procurement. An empirical case study of the effects of one of the policies, namely the villagization program is undertaken. The study seeks to place the description and analysis of the agrarian policies into a number of relevant contexts. First, an attempt was made to relate the discussion to questions of forms of peasant cooperation and state policy disincentive ont the one hand and the exigencies of prolonged war and rural conflict on agrarian policies on the other. Secondly, agarain policies are placed in theoretical framework through discussions of various perspectives and debates on subjects such as agarian transformation (socialist and capitalist), peasantry, state agrarian intervention and state-peasant relations. Thirdly, the study attempts to situate the analysis of the agaraian policies in relevant historical and politico-ideological contexts through a more or less detailed presentation of agrarian relations in Ethiopia before 1974 and the 1974 Ethiopian popular movement and analyze how these backgraound conditions influenced the nature and outcomes of the agarian policies of the military regime. The potentials and limitations of the agrarian policies of the regime are assessed in relation to the myth and reality of agrarian transition/transformation in Ethiopia in the period under consideration, the problems of rural institutions and state-peasant relations and the scholarly quest for comprehensive explanations of the Ethiopian experience in agarian policies. Finally, based on the Ethiopian experience the study raises issues such as forms of peasaqnt organization, organization of agricultural production and above all problems of state-peasant relations as major problem areas for future research both for equitable and broad-based agricultural growth as well as for peasant emancipation and participation which had been the promises of the 1974 popular movement but whose potentials failed to be realized to the fullest extent possible.


  • Teketel Abebe Kebede
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • Sociology, villagization, agarian transformation, agrarian reform, agrarian policy, Ethiopia, peasants, state-peasant relations
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date1998 Jun 4
  • Department of Sociology, Lund University
Print ISBNs91-89078-38-1
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 1998-06-04 Time: 10:15 Place: Edens hörsal, Paradisgatan 5H, Lund External reviewer(s) Name: Beckman, Björn Title: Associate professor Affiliation: [unknown] ---