Toward an understanding of justice, belief, and women's rights: Ateetee, an Arsi Orono women's sung dispute resolution process in Ethiopia

Qashu, Leila (2016) Toward an understanding of justice, belief, and women's rights: Ateetee, an Arsi Orono women's sung dispute resolution process in Ethiopia. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This dissertation examines ateetee, a sung Arsi Oromo women‘s indigenous dispute resolution in Ethiopia, to demonstrate how music, as an expressive form, enables women to protect, promote and claim their rights, and to resolve disputes peacefully in a rapidly changing social environment. Though Arsi society is socio-politically male dominated, women have their own power through the ateetee ritual, their women‘s institution and the vernacular belief system. Ateetee is a highly political and power laden process, in which women travel to the offender‘s house singing insults, then sing in front of the offender‘s house until a reconciliation ceremony is held. At the ceremony they receive a cow as compensation, then the women finish by blessing the offender. I have demonstrated how this ritual process is a judicial process, through which women actively resolve disputes and uphold rights and respect they hold in Oromo society and under Oromo law. By examining this process from a local perspective, through the perspectives of the different participants, I have been analyzing the factors and circumstances that allow these musical rituals to remain relevant and effective means of dispute resolution, and to draw wider conclusions concerning how to foster restorative justice through the expressive arts. I have also explored some of the dramatic social changes that are affecting this ritual, including mainstream religions, government/political interferences, and urbanization/modernization. I spent cumulatively over two years in the field, with different communities in highland and lowland areas, and in the dissertation I have supplemented thick ethnographic descriptions and the voices of community members with video and audio recordings of interviews and rituals. Theoretically my research engages three main areas: vernacular feminism, indigenous spirituality, and legal pluralism.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 12371
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 434-453).
Keywords: Oromo, Arsi, Gender studies, Indigenous belief, legal pluralism, ethnomusicology, vernacular belief, Ethiopia, restorative justice, dispute resolution, music, Women's rights, vernacular feminism
Department(s): Music, School of
Date: June 2016
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Ethiopia
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Rural women--Ethiopia--Social life and customs; Arsi (African people)--Ethiopia--Social life and customs; Music and conflict management--Ethiopia; Women's rights--Ethiopia

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