Transactive Approach: Explaining Dynamics of Ethnicity and Inter Ethnic Conflicts in Post 1991 Ethiopia
International Journal of Education, Culture and Society
Volume 3, Issue 4, August 2018, Pages: 68-77
Received: Oct. 4, 2018; Accepted: Oct. 22, 2018; Published: Nov. 12, 2018
Views 377      Downloads 72
Dagnachew Ayenew Yeshiwas, Department of Peace and Development studies, School of Governance, Wollo University, Dessie, Ethiopia
Article Tools
Follow on us
Indeed, Ethiopia is a heterogeneous state. And the successive regimes have implemented their respective strategies towards diversity that left its own good and bad legacies. Since 1991, the state has unprecedentedly experimented ethnic federalism as a means to accommodate ethnic diversity. Therefore, this study has explained dynamics of ethnicity and ethnic relations since the inception of ethnic federalism. The paper employs qualitative research design and draws heavily on secondary sources, including books, journals, researches and reports of various institutions. Nevertheless, the data collected through in depth interview, observation, social media discourses is also consulted and analysed thematically. Theoretically, transactive approach as alternative explanation to ethnicity and ethnic conflicts in Ethiopia is discussed as part of the analysis in various sections. The paper demonstrates that in Ethiopia; ethnicity is neither blindly primordial nor completely manipulable. It is thus, a matter of categorical ascription and social organization in terms of culture and history, similarity and difference. Ethnic conflict is not also merely out of primordial differences or mobilization by ethnic entrepreneurs. But it is the result of feelings and sentiments in which members of a particular group develop as they interact and compare their positions with other ethnic groups. In doing this, the finding of this study bridges the extreme schools of thought in ethnicity: primordialism and instrumentalism.
Ethnicity, Ethnic Conflict, Ethnic Federalism, Transactive, Primordial, Instrumental
To cite this article
Dagnachew Ayenew Yeshiwas, Transactive Approach: Explaining Dynamics of Ethnicity and Inter Ethnic Conflicts in Post 1991 Ethiopia, International Journal of Education, Culture and Society. Vol. 3, No. 4, 2018, pp. 68-77. doi: 10.11648/j.ijecs.20180304.11
Copyright © 2018 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
TeshaleTibebu (1995). The Making of Modern Ethiopia (1896-1974). The Red SeaPress, Inc.
Markakis, J. (2003). Ethnic Conflict in Pre Federal Ethiopia. 1st NationalConference on Federalism, Conflict and Peace Building, May 5 - 7, 2003, Addis Ababa
Hizkias Assefa (1996). Ethnic Conflict in the Horn of Africa: Myth and Reality. InKumar, R and A. T. Valery (eds), Ethnicity and Power in the ContemporaryWorld. Tokyo, New York, Paris: United Nations University Press.
Endrias Eshete (2003). Ethnic Federalism: New Frontier in Ethiopian politics. 1st NationalConference on Federalism, Conflict and Peace Building. May 5 - 7, 2003Addis Ababa.
Desalegn Amsalu (2010). Awi- Gumuz relations: The Dynamics of Ethnicity in Ethiopia. Saarbruccken:VDMVeragDr. Mueller.
Mengesha Emzat (2008). Federalism and Accommodation of Ethnic Diversity in Africa: The Ethiopian Experience. In The Kenyan Section of the International Commission of jurists, Ethnicity, Human Rights and Constitutionalism in Africa.
Gebre Ab Barnabas (2003). Ethnic and Religious Policies of FDR Ethiopia. 1st NationalConference on Federalism, Conflict and Peace Building. May 5 - 7, 2003Addis Ababa.
Abbink, J. (1997). Ethnicity and Constitutionalism in Contemporary Ethiopia. Journal of African Law, 41, 159-174.
Alemante Gebresellasie (2003). Ethnic Federalism: Its Promise and Pitfalls for Africa. Faculty Publications. Paper 88.
Mesfin Woldemariam (2004). YekhidetKulikulet. Nigid Printing Press.(Document in Amharic.
Agbu, A. (2011) Ethnicity andDemocratizationin Africa:Challenges for Politics and Development. Discussion Paper 62, Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, Uppsala.
Dagnachew Ayenew (2018). Relative Deprivation: an Explanation to Inter Ethnic Conflicts in Metekel Zone, North Western Ethiopia, Since 1991. IJPDS, Vol 9 (1-14).
Tronvoll, K. (2002). Identities in Conflict: An ethnography of war and the politics of identity in Ethiopia1998-2000.(PhD dissertation, University of London).
Merera Gudina(2006). Contradictory Interpretations of Ethiopian History: The Need for a new consensus. InTurton, D (ed), Ethnic Federalism: The EthiopianExperience in Comparative Perspective. Addis Ababa: A. A. U. Printing Press.
Assefa Tolera (1995). Ethnic Integration and Conflict: The Case of indigenous Oromo and Amhara Settlers In Aaro Addis Alem, Kiramu Area, North western Wallaga. (MA Thesis, AAU)
Wan, and Vanderwerf (2009). A Review of the Literature onEthnicity and National identity and Related MusicologicalStudies. available at accessed (November 4, 2015).
Dagnachew Ayenew (2016). Ethnicity and Inter Ethnic Relations between Agew and Gumuz in Post 1991 Ethiopia: The Case Metekel Zone. MA thesis, Bahirdar University
Vaughan, S. (2003). Ethnicity and power in Ethiopia (PhD thesis, University of Edinburgh) Retrieved (November 17, 2015) From bitstream/1842/605/2/vaughanphd.pdf
Wolf, S. (2006). Ethnic Conflict: A Global Perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Freeman, D. (2005). An explanation of conflict: Ethnicity, Deprivation, and Rationalization. Paper presented at Kentucky Political Science Association Conference, Dr. Lori Hartmann-Mahmud, 4 March 2005
Hyden, G. (2006). African Politics in Comparative Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Eriksen, T. H. (2002). Ethnicity and Nationalism: Anthropological Perspectives. London: Pluto Press.
Barth, F. (1969). Introduction. In Barth, F (ed), Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: theSocial organization of Culture Difference. Boston:Little, brown and company.
Tegegne Teka(1998). Amhara Ethnicity in the Making. In Mohammed, Salihand Markakis, J (eds.) Ethnicity and the State in Eastern Africa. Uppsala:Nordic Africa Institute.
Tsega Endalew (2006). Inter ethnic interaction on Frontier: Mettekel (Ethiopia), 1898-1991. Germanny: Otto harasowitiz and Co. KG. wiesebadin.
Asnake Kefale (2013). Federalism and Ethnic Conflict in Ethiopia: A Comparative Regional Study. Newyork: Routledge.
Gurr, TR (1970). Why Men Rebel. Princeton and NG: Princeton University Press.
Clapham, C. (1990). The political economy of conflict in the Horn of Africa. Survival. 32 (5), 403-419.
Wubshet Tsige (2015). Ankets 39: Yerasin Edil Beras mewosen – Tarik, Filsfina, Hig, Politika. Addis Ababa. (Document in Amharic).
Bahiru Zewdie (2008). Society, State and History: selected essays. Addis Ababa: Addis Ababa University Press.
Asafa Jalata (2010). The Ethiopian State: Authoritarianism, Violence and Clandestine Genocide. The Journal of Pan African Studies, 3 (6), 160-189.
Merera Gudina (2003). Ethiopia: Competing Ethnic Nationalisms and the Quest forDemocracy, 1960-2000. Ethiopia: Chamber Printing House.
Alem Habtu (2003). Ethnic Federalism in Ethiopia: Background, Present Conditions andFuture Prospects. Paper submitted to the second EAF International symposium On Contemporary Development Issues in Ethiopia. Addis Ababa.
Science Publishing Group
1 Rockefeller Plaza,
10th and 11th Floors,
New York, NY 10020
Tel: (001)347-983-5186