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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Boorana political culture and Rousseau's concept of popular democracy: an examination of theory and praxis
Author:Lencho, Taddese
Periodical:The journal of Oromo studies
Geographic terms:Ethiopia
political science
About person:Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)ISNI
Abstract:When Jean Jacques Rousseau referred to the ancient Greeks as a historical precedent for his concept of popular democracy and as evidence for his theories, he was unaware of the fact that his version of popular democracy was being practised closer to his time. There seems to be a strong parallelism between Rousseau's concept of popular democracy and how the Boorana (southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya) have been practising their version of popular democracy for more than 350 years of Oromo history. The present paper examines these similarities and argues that Rousseau's theories, generally considered too ideal to be of any practical utility, show surprising operability in the context of Boorana political tradition. The paper pays attention to Rousseau's theories of the 'general will', which resembles popular sovereignty in Boorana; the Boorana polity's 'gadaa' system; the 'Gumii Gayyoo' and other Boorana assemblies. Finally, it compares Rousseau's legislator and Boorana legislators. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]