State Structure and Construction of National Identity in Ethiopia: Pre and Post-1991

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Addis ababa university


The aim of this article is to investigate the impacts of ethnic-based federalism in the construction of national identity: experience of post-1991 Ethiopia. To achieve the main objective of this study, a qualitative research approach was employed; and the data were collected both from primary and secondary sources. A semi-structured interview was employed as a data collection instrument. Essentially primary data were collected from key informant, observation and document reviews, and the secondary data were collected from various written documents. The finding of the study showed that, over the past five decades, ethnicity and ethnic identity have played a significant role in the country's overall activities, ethnocentrism and ethnic identity issues have had a significant contribution to the weakening of national identities. The proliferation of ethnic-based political parties in Ethiopia is intensified clash of interests, the aggravation of ethnic political elites’ rivalry, escalation of ethnic suspicion, weakening of national sentiment. Ethiopia’s peculiar nature of federalism has been a viable option for the integrity of the Ethiopian state and society on the other hand exacerbates and ignites identity politics, thus, it leads to further disintegration. Accordingly, the major conclusion of this study revealed the ethnic-based federalism in Ethiopia has become an instrument of political mobilization, which further perpetuates violence, dissension, and a sense of separatism. Key terms: Federalism, ethnicity, identity, nationalism, national identity, ethnic based federalism



Federalism, ethnicity, identity, nationalism, national identity, ethnic based federalism