Politics of Territoriality in Ethiopia: the Case of the Pastoral Gabra of Southern Ethiopia
The paper examines the current explosion of identity politics in Ethiopia and its entanglement with territoriality. It explains how neighboring groups negotiate, contest, re/construct and deconstruct their politico-territorial positions. It focuses on the processes by which the rules of political participation produce and reinforce ethno-territoriality, and examines the interplay between ethnic identity politics, territoriality and pastoral livelihood. Taking the case of the pastoral Gabra and their relationship with their neighbors, the Borana in Southern Ethiopia, I argue that the rule of political participation, whether it is practical or mere elite aspiration, has created a new form of territoriality that has altered the long-standing local inter-group relationships and negatively affected the local livelihoods.
Key words: Borana, Gabra, identity politics, pastoralism, territoriality