Identity Politics, Democratisation and State Building in Ethiopia's Federal Arrangement

  • K Mengisteab


Relations between identity politics, democratisation, and state building are complex, especially in the cases of relatively young post-colonial countries, such as those in Sub-Saharan Africa. The complexity emanates, in part, from the multiplicity of the intervening variables. This paper proposes that the factors that impinge on the relationships include: the nature of the historical state-identity and inter-identity relations, the nature of the state, including the quality of its leadership and its effectiveness in promoting the well-being of its citizens equitably, the state's approach to state-building, the organisation of political parties, and the structure of electoral systems. Developing a general theory on the relations between identity politics, democratisation, and state building is beyond the scope of this paper. Instead, the paper aims to contribute to our understanding of the nature of the relationships by exploring how they have unfolded in Ethiopia's fifteen-year-old federal arrangement.

African Journal on Conflict Resolution Vol. 7 (2) 2007: pp. 63-92

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eISSN: 1562-6997