Ethiopian Journal of the Social Sciences and Humanities

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Politics of Territoriality in Ethiopia: the Case of the Pastoral Gabra of Southern Ethiopia

F Adugna


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

AJOL African Journals Online