Towards A Political Sociology of Oromo Literater Jaarsoo Waaqoo’s Poetry

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Addis Ababa University


The major aim of the present study is to sociologically analyse Jaarsoo's poetry Finna San Gama (Beyond Adversities) set in the social, cultural and economic immediate milieu of the Oromo and in the current sociopolitical matrix of the country. The study is mainly concerned with the poetic content analysis of Jaarsoo's poetry using appropriate methods. In this regard, in Chapter II, the study attempts to consider available theoretical concepts which are thought to be helpful in a sociological analysis of poetic contents and in answering questions of literary and sociological nature raised in Chapter I. Similarly, those related studies that describe the need for a sociological study of Oromo literature are included. Thus, primarily, the study attempts to make the descriptive assessment of the ethnographic and literary background that informed the poet and his works. Data were collected using structured and unstructured queries, notetaking and tape-recordings. The task of transcription and translation of the data was accomplished under a close supervision of informed Jaarsoo's audience both inside and outside Boorana. In Chapter III, the study tries to show impacts of the geerarsa genre. The intention was to establish some generic characteristics of Jaarsoo's poetry Finna San Gama (FSG) set within the geerarsa genre, particularly the Boorana dhaaduu recitative war poetry. Based on its subject-matter, geerarsa can be viii categorized as traditional (time-free) and contemporary (time-bound). The traditional time-free geerarsa includes historical songs in praise of Oromo tribal warlords. Historical songs tend to be contemporary songs of their own time since they compose local political and social events of their own time. Other traditional geerarsa songs are: hunting songs (e.g. gooba), songs of war of economic interests like the Boorana dhaaduu or the Arsi suunsuma, and songs of success or failure in finna/life. Contemporary geerarsa are those personal narratives or praise songs historically transformed into prison/protest songs following the dynamic sociological situations of the Oromo. This transformation may mark the transitional period of Oromo literature, transition from what had hitherto been mere praise song to a political song of some kind. Both the traditional and the transitional Oromo oral genre, doubtlessly the geerarsa, must have paved the way towards modern Oromo literature which is expected to have a great didactic role in directing current Oromo sociopolitical life situation in some way. The geerarsa genre and the dhaaduu recitative war poetry have influenced the content and performance of Jaarsoo's Finna San Gama I-IV in which the poet recites issues of resource-based conflicts, nationalism, and social and development topics, as analyzed in Chapter IV. Based on the generic interpretation of those popular genres, geerarsa and dhaaduu, FSG can be classified as the Boorana dhaaduu recitative poetry. In data analysis the poetic contents of FSG are ix delineated based on their subject-matter, function, and context. Thus, the result of the study indicates, like contemporary geerarsa, FSG focuses on different subject-matters (sociopolitical, cultural and economic), not just on war events unlike the traditional dhaaduu recitative war poetry. The significant role of the universal Oromo geerarsa and the Borana dhaaduu in the content analysis of Jaarsoo's poetry set in the Oromo current sociopolitical context is therefore the aspect that a sociological analysis can reveal. Key Words/Phrases: generic transformations, resource-based conflicts, social and development issues, issues of nationalism



Words/Phrases, generic transformations, resource-based conflicts, social and development issues, issues of nationalism