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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-109
Number of pages23
JournalNomadic Peoples
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • Balance of power
  • Disarmament
  • East African pastoral societies
  • Inter-ethnic relation
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography


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