Transnational governance and the centralization of state power in Eritrea and exile

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40 Scopus citations


During the Eritrean war of independence from Ethiopia (1961-91) the Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front developed institutionalized transnational strategies that linked dispersed refugees and exiles to the nationalist movement in the Horn of Africa. Upon independence, these institutions and strategies were maintained for purposes of nation-state building. This article shows how state-directed transnationalism and deterriorialized patterns of governance have contributed to the centralization of state power in Eritrea and the development of civil society outside the country. Ethnographic and historical analysis of state and civil society institutions highlights how transnationalism enables new forms of political and social action while facilitating state power and repression, including human rights abuses, warfare and militarism. Moreover, it is suggested that the Eritrean state seeks to control transnational institutions in order to retain sovereignty and reject foreign, neo-liberal interventions associated with globalization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)476-502
Number of pages27
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Africa
  • Civil society
  • Governance
  • Human rights
  • Nationalism
  • Transnationalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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