Ethnicity across regional boundaries: migration and the politics of inequality in Ethiopia

Breines, Markus Roos (2019). Ethnicity across regional boundaries: migration and the politics of inequality in Ethiopia. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2019.1577724

Abstract

Increasing migration across the world has transformed the politics of identity in recent decades, which has influenced how people experience and narrate ethnicity. The rigid Ethiopian political system of ethnic federalism makes ethnicity an official and permanent component of individual identity and group belonging to ethnic-based regions. At the same time, the government has enabled increased internal migration and facilitated ethnic diversity on university campuses. In this article, I explore experiences of migration across regional boundaries among people from the Tigray region towards ethnically diverse urban centers in Ethiopia, such as Addis Ababa. This paper illustrates how an emic conceptualisation of identity can be understood as a response to state categories of ethnicity, but also argues that contextual and temporal politics generate conditions and experiences that in turn reshape those conceptualisations.

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