Role Of Popular Songs On Ethnicity And Nationalism In Ethiopia Since 1991

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Addis Abeba University


My thesis investigates the role of music in supporting or undermining ethnonational and Pan-Ethiopian national identities, as well as the major causes of their emergence, through a critical examination of Ethiopia's past historical narrative. I extensively explore the participation of music in national identity formation in the Derg and special emphasis on the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) since 1991. In this project, I mainly deployed the qualitative research method. The main source of the data is songs. Some of the songs are acquired from the archive. The secondary source is mainly derived from open-ended interviews and questionnaires administered to my respondents, who are multidisciplinary intellectuals. Music is a medium that doesn’t go in a vacuum and also it is part of the process of the past historical narratives or discourses in Ethiopia. In this case, Music plays a major role in the formation of ethnonational and Pan-Ethiopian national identity in Ethiopia. This thesis is intended to show how the participation of music in the formation of identity politics and can create a collective identity formation in Ethiopia. In addition, music is a powerful tool for conflict transformation in Ethiopia, so that the government has to give more attention to the greater potential of music for conflict resolution. Therefore to study music is given the chance to understand a unique perspective about identity formation that can’t be found from the other field of studies like history and political science and also I believe that, this thesis provides a greater contribution to the scholar those who are interested in multidisciplinary research.



Ethiopian Music, Identity, Nationalism, Ethnicity, Representation