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Sacred Networks: Religion and Social Life Among Oromo in Norway

Published in 2008, Servan, Brita Marie, Thesis Collection - Archived on August 31st, 2013

Title: Sacred Networks: Religion and Social Life Among Oromo in Norway
Author: Brita Marie Servan (Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies, and Religion; Faculty of Humanities; The University of Bergen)
Published: Thesis Collection
Language: English
Keywords: social networks, cultural capital, interaction rituals, inter-religious relations, deities

The main questions in this thesis are: How are religious similarities and differences expressed, and how is diversity tackled, in plural-religious social contexts? These questions and the material call for other questions to be asked, as for example: Why and how do Oromo in Norway socialise within their ethnic group? I suggest some answers based on empirical examples and theoretical reflections, both from previous studies and from my own fieldwork. My aim is to contribute to the study of Oromo, as well as put forward some perspectives on the relation between social life and religion in general. I will in the first part of the thesis examine previous studies. Chapter two briefly presents studies on Oromo history and religions. This will provide background information to the analysis since most Oromo in Norway are first-generation immigrants from Ethiopia. Furthermore, the aim is to discuss some of the shortcomings in previous studies on inter-religious relations among Oromo. Chapter three discusses previous studies on Oromo in diaspora. The intention is to give further background information as well as stress the need for studies on religion and social interaction in the Oromo diaspora. The second part discusses the theories and concepts that are being used in the analysis. Throughout the thesis, I will focus on religion as a social phenomenon. In chapter four, sociological theories, such as social networks, cultural capital, and interaction rituals, are presented. Chapter five discusses how we could conceptualise deities’ in light of previous studies. I attempt to find a way to analyse relations to deities through experimenting with the sociological theories discussed in chapter four. Hence, a central question is: could representations of deities be analysed as part of social networks, religious capital, and interaction rituals? Furthermore, I will present a proposition on how members of plural-religious networks relate to the religious diversity. The final part of the thesis, analyses the material based on qualitative interviews and participating observations among Oromo in Norway. Chapter six will suggest some answers the question: how are relations to deities expressed in social interaction? Through examples from different forms of rituals, I will demonstrate how both religious similarity and diversity are expressed among Oromo in Norway. In addition, this chapter provide some answers to how and why Oromo-Norwegians primarily socialise within their own ethnic group. Chapter seven will examine which strategies the respondents use when dealing with religious diversity, an analysis which is based on the proposition suggested in chapter five.

Dissertation in PDF format

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Countering Land-grabs by Establishing a Database of Customary Land Ownership Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Published in 2013, Dugo, Habtamu, Eisen, Joanne, Jaatee, Malkamuu, Oromo Studies Association - Archived on August 20th, 2013

Title: Countering Land-grabs by Establishing a Database of Customary Land Ownership Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Authors: Malkamuu Jaatee, Habtamu Dugo and Joanne Eisen
Published: Oromo Studies Association (OSA) – Presentation at Annual Conference 2013
Language: English
Keywords: Land-grabs, Property Rights, Deeds, Indigenous peoples, and Documentation

Without modern deeds and documentation, indigenous peoples cannot prove ownership of their ancestral lands. This paper describes a proposal that will create land ownership records/deeds for indigenous people by recording their land boundaries using GPS technology. The recording process will begin in areas that are at highest risk for land grabbing and the data will be stored out of country. This should strengthen the position of those who have only informal title to their land and who do not have the ability to prevent land grabbing. We expect that short term benefits will include the promotion of Oromummaa, the development of Oromo leadership, the continuing education of the people about their rights and the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent [FPIC] and the intimidation of prospective land grabbers by alerting them to brewing resistance. In the long term, if court proceedings are required, measurement of ancestral property and documentation of ownership offer a higher chance of a successful outcome. We show how the changing concept of FPIC and financial failures of previous land grabbing schemes may be contributing to an eventual slowing of the land grab process. Until that time, indigenous leadership should promote the timely local actions required to protect the people from despotic treatment.

Article in PDF format (Gadaa.com)

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