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Historical narratives in Ethiopia

Amare Asgedom , Barbara Ridley

pp. 87-109

This chapter considers how historical and contemporary narratives can be used to interpret issues of educational organisation and leadership. The research on which it is based sought to understand academic freedom and institutional autonomy through a case study of Addis Ababa University (AAU) between 1950 and 2005. This 55 year period saw three markedly different political regimes: feudalism (1950–1974), socialism (1974–1991) and democratic federalism (1991–2005). Historical narratives must make sense of stories told over time. The stories told during this study included contemporaneous archival materials narrating the points of view of the different political regimes in power and the leaderships of AAU and the reflective narratives of academics, including the lead researcher, Amare, who had lived through these periods. The research asked whether or not academic freedom and autonomy were attainable in a context of mutual support: the university that was responsible to the state that supported and funded it but, at the same time, the university itself played a central role in national politics. The nature of relationships between university and state is complex. The requirements to be free and accountable at the same time create tensions, especially when viewed from the point of view of the different ideas of the university. More pragmatically, if the university depends on the state both for its funding and for defining its value in serving society, then also stating itself to be independent of that same state is unrealistic.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-017-9282-0_6

Full citation:

Asgedom, A. , Ridley, B. (2015)., Historical narratives in Ethiopia, in P. Smeyers, D. Bridges, N. C. Burbules & M. Griffiths (eds.), International handbook of interpretation in educational research, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 87-109.

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