Governmentality in Motion: 25 Years of Ethiopia’s Experience of Famine and Migration Policy
In the 25 years since the 1984–85 Great Sahelian Famine, the Ethiopian state has used the management of mobility as a tool to control the poorest of its citizens. In this paper I examine three cases: the forced resettlement of people during the 1980s, the repatriation of refugees during the mid-1990s and the more recent resettlement of food insecure people in the early 2000s. I argue that in each of these cases, people’s movements have been controlled so as to undermine their agency with the net effect of increasing their vulnerability. Such strategies have transformed and reinforced class, ethnic and religious hierarchies to such an extent that those being managed have become silently complicitous in their own exploitation. The paper argues that analyses of how governmentality functions should be set in motion, and that mobility management strategies may be a central tool for promoting governmentality on wider levels.