Levine, Donald Nathan, 1931-. Wax & gold: tradition and innovation in Ethiopian culture

Table of Contents

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I Introduction Amhara Tradition And Ethiopia’s Modernization

The Fact Of Amhara Dominance

The Genius Of Amhara Culture

Tradition And Modernity

The Questions Of A Pragmatist

2 The Legacy Of Manz And Gondar

The Amhara Drama




Historical Profiles

The Role Of Gondar

The Role Of Manz

Cultural Profiles

The Manze Ethos

The Gondare Ethos

Manz Versus Gondar

The Contemporary Scene

Gondar Today

Manz Today

The Legacy Of Manz And Gondar

3 The World Of The Amhara Peasant

The Institutional Setting Of Peasant Life

The World Of Activity

The Daily Round

The Yearly Cycle

The World Of Meaning

The Natural Universe

The Supernatural

Time And Space 74

Society And Human Nature

The Good Life

The Central Confrontation

Modernization And The Peasant

Peasant Conservatism

Receptivity To Change

The Legacy Of Peasant Culture

4 The Emerging Adolescent

Coming Of Age In Abyssinia

Toward Adult Work Roles

Toward Marital Roles

From Generation To Generation

Personal Identity And Variant Patterns 96

Adolescence In Changing Ethiopia

The Welfare School

New Agents Of Socialization

Preparation For Work

Preparation For Marriage

Cultural Orientation

The Changing Context Of Modern Adolescence

5 The Old And New Elites

The Traditional Order

The Lofty Throne

The Old Nobility

The Clergy

The Traditional Balance

The Feudal Order In Transition

The Decline Of The Old Nobility

The Decline Of The Clergy

The New Men Of Power

The Birth Of An Intelligentsia

The Returnees

The Locals

The Role Of The Government

Ethiopia’s Dilemma

6 Orality And The Search For Leadership

The Phenomena Of Amhara Orality

Oral Erotism

Oral Sadism

Oral Ambivalence

Orality And Modernization

7 Individualism And The Quest For Social Progress Fig. 34.—offering A Gursha

The Concept Of Individualism

Egoism Versus Solidarism

Self And Community

Self And Others

Independence Versus Constraint


Religious Organization

Political And Military Organization (prior To 1942)

Synchronization And Privacy

Individuality Versus Conformity And Anonymity

Education And Socialization

Music And Art

The Written Word And The Oral Tradition

Cultural Heroes

Individualism And Modernity

The Traditional Pattern

The Challenge Of Modernity

Formal Associations Of Foreign Inspiration

Formal Associations Of Indigenous Inspiration

Informal Associations

The Question Of Individuality


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Publication Information


Title: Wax & gold: tradition and innovation in Ethiopian culture

Published By: Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965. xvi, 315 p.: ill., map

By line: Donald N. Levine

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 1998. Computer File

Culture: Amhara (MP05)

Subjects: History (175); Chief executive (643); Classes (565); Adolescent activities (883); Priesthood (793); Ethnosociology (829); Social relationships and groups (571);

Abstract: In this book Levine analyzes traditional and transitional Amhara culture from four different vantages: historical, sociological, anthropological and psychological. Each aspect of traditional culture touched on by the author is considered in light of Ethiopia's transition to a modern state. The problems facing Ethiopia as a developing nation are pointed out and some suggestions are made concerning their solution. Examined in depth are the roles of Amhara peasants, elites, intellectuals, adolescents, clergy and military. The education and socialization process and the political process are examined extensively to determine in what ways traditional patterns conflict with or contribute to the modernization process. In the last two chapters, the author delves into the psychological development of the Amhara personality. More specifically, these last two chapters are concerned with the personality factors which the author considers inhibitive of creative leadership, solidary action and social progress. Field methods included analysis of literary texts and oral traditions, use of questionnaires, projective tests, interviews and participant observation. Levine spent from 1958 to 1961 carrying out field research, serving part of that time as a lecturer in the University College of Addis Ababa.

Document Number: 11

Document ID: mp05-011

Document Type: Monograph

Language: English

Note: Includes bibliographical references (p. 287-302)

Field Date: 1958-1961

Evaluation: Sociologist-4,5

Analyst: Helen Gunsher Bornstein ; John Beierle ; 1972

Coverage Date: 1270-1961

Coverage Place: Ethiopia

LCSH: Amhara (African people)


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