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Automatic Rifles and Social Order Amongst the Daasanach of Conflictridden East Africa

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It has been reported that the proliferation of automatic rifles in East Africa has increased the seriousness of conflicts during the past thirty years in East African pastoral societies. Some researchers insist that pastoral societies have been inundated with escalating levels of violence. This violence is associated with young men who have new types of firearms that are more sophisticated and deadly than traditional weapons and that destroy social order. However, most of the analysis in these studies is subjective in that it narrowly attempts to understand this region in a techno-deterministic way. This study clarifies that the Daasanach and neighbouring groups in the border regions of Ethiopia, Kenya and the Sudan have actually controlled the extensive use of violence and maintained local order, even with the proliferation of automatic rifles, and without government assistance.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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  • Nomadic Peoples is an international journal published by the White Horse Press for the Commission on Nomadic Peoples, International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences. Its primary concerns are the current circumstances of all nomadic peoples around the world and their prospects. Its readership includes all those interested in nomadic peoples, scholars, researchers, planners and project administrators.
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