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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:54809
Doc. No:TL24763
Call number:‭3190478‬
Main Entry:Lahra Smith
Title & Author:Voting for a nationality: Ethnic identity, political institutions and citizenship in EthiopiaLahra Smith
College:University of California, Los Angeles
Date:2005
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2005
Page No:393
Abstract:This dissertation situates the study of formal political institutions in the context of communal diversity and dual citizenship in sub-Saharan Africa through an examination of ethnic federalism in Ethiopia. The focus of analysis is the use of socio-political institutions for the purpose of creating a common sense of national citizenship among Ethiopia's disparate ethnic populations and for creating the conditions of dialogue and participation. This study tests the claim that a critical failure of the present institutional arrangement in Ethiopia has been to resolve competing citizenship claims. Accounting for diverse citizenship discourses and practices, and studying the interaction of these competing citizenship claims with formal political arrangements such as federalism provides insights into the future prospects for democratization. The citizenship lens re-frames studies of ethnic conflict and competition, which are typically cast in pessimistic tones, into claims about rights to inclusion, participation and democracy which are considerably more optimistic. It allows the exploration of the democratic potential of dual citizenship to inform policy and change the terms of the debate. Because of the complex relationship of Amharic language and ethnic dominance in Ethiopia, together with demands for autonomy and self-government by members of various ethnic groups, the 1995 Constitution of Ethiopia includes substantial provisions for ethnic self-determination which makes it an important test of some of the assumptions of the institutional-engineering literature. This study examines the institutionalization of ethnic federalism through four community case studies in Ethiopia: the Siltie, Gurage, Oromo and Benishangul-Gumuz regions. Fieldwork was conducted in 2001 and 2003. I utilized four primary types of data, including: (1) documentary and archival sources, (2) elite interviewing, (3) semi-structured interviewing and focus groups, and (4) participant observation. The conclusion argues that although institutions are limited in arbitrating conflict, they can provide linguistic and procedural parameters for political competition regarding contentious issues such as ethnicity. Bolstering these formal institutions with informal (and formal) social discourse, through public education and grassroots community development, will create avenues for Ethiopian citizens to activate moral and democratic obligations from their communal identities into positive gains for the democratic polity.
Subject:Social sciences; Education; Citizenship; Ethiopia; Ethnic identity; Nationality; Political institutions; Voting; Political science; African history; Language arts; 0615:Political science; 0279:Language arts; 0331:African history
Added Entry:E. J. Keller
Added Entry:University of California, Los Angeles