Wednesday, 13 May 2015

The social engineering in the western lowlands in Eritrea carried out by the British Military Administration

The social engineering in the western lowlands carried out by the British Military Administration 1941 - 1952

الهندسة الاجتماعية التي اجرتها الادارة البريطانية في المنخفضات الغربية من ارتريا ١٩٤١ - ١٩٥٢

The article "Making Tribes: Social Engineering in the Western Province of British-Administered Eritrea"  by Jan-Bart Gewald

In light of the results of this investigation, the administration proceeded to reorganize the tribal structure in the Nacfa and Agordat districts. It was first ascertained which groups seemed by virtue of their size to merit independent tribal status after an initial period to allow voluntary amalgamations. Second, arrangements were made to encourage voluntary amalgamations of the smaller groups. As a result 20 wholly new tribes comprising a total population of 147,164 have emerged as independent units, 8 former nonaristocratic tribes (total population, 32,899) have been refashioned, and the former aristorcratic tribes have been recast in light of their reduced population. Twenty chiefs and 591 subordinate chiefs have been elected, mainly by unanimous vote.
.... In this part of the country, the British administration, in an effort to curb banditry and social unrest, completely changed the manner in which people had access to power. To do this the British divested several political structures of legitimacy and invested others with state-sanctioned legitimacy. Some precolonial forms of governance were canceled, new forms were created, and some forms with alleged historical antecedence were invested with new legitimacy. In doing this, the British administration changed forever the society in the Western Province......

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