Comparison Of Indian And Ethopian Federalism Re:Ethnicity

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Comparison of Indian and Ethopian federalism re:ethnicity

Comparison of Indian and Ethopian Federalism Re:Ethnicity


This paper is presented in two parts. The first part presents the historical account of federalism, i.e. its evolution and purpose, what federalism is and the different flavors of federalism. The second part of the paper uses its first part to examine Ethiopia's ethnic federalism. I strongly advise readers to critically read all parts of the paper to see the pros and cons of federalism, and have an informed stand as to why one disagrees with Ethiopia's ethnic federalism.

Comparison of Indian and Ethopian Federalism Re:Ethnicity

The word "ethnicity' is indeed one that has had a precarious history but in taking on board its weight and a clear understanding of it, much about society can be learned. Discussions about ethnicity often deal with the concepts of ethnic revival, ethnic conflict (new racism) and ethnocentrism To first answer the question of how ethnicity is significant today one must have a solid definition of what ethnicity is, and more specifically what ethnicity is not. Cohen (1974) points out that an ethnic group is an assemblage of persons who share standards of behaviour and form a bigger part of a population. Miles and Small (1999) note that it is important to make a distinction between "?race' and "?ethnicity'. They suggest that the word race is highly contentious and state that it implies that groups are naturally formed from biological characteristics. Miles and Small (1999) are inclined to support a definition like Cohen's (1974) that considers ethnic groups to be formed socially and culturally, not by science. Cultural or social traits that form an ethnic identity can be Religion, language, dress, food, music and beliefs. From a sociological perspective, the bottom line is that to define a group by solely by their genetic make-up, whilst ignoring "?cultural' factors is both dubious and ambiguous. Such an ideology (that people are grouped by race) is commonly rejected.

Today, federal political systems are increasingly used by states with a multi-ethnic population as a mechanism to accommodate the demands of their ethnic groups as well as to protect their territorial integrity. Federal political systems are thus created to prevent, resolve or at least mitigate ethnically inspired or associated conflicts and in this way to ensure stability within the state. The tendency to use federal structures as a mechanism for the accommodation of ethnic diversity is far less visible on the African continent and this is despite the large ethnic diversity that characterizes the population of most African states. In Africa, nation and state building strategies aimed at weakening ethnic affinities in favour of a national identity prevail. They are based on the hope that, in this way, the attachment to the ethnic group will transform into an affinity for the state. However, many conflicts show that these strategies have not been successful in the slightest in erasing the ethnic identity of African citizens and guaranteeing the stability of the African state. It is therefore interesting to look at Ethiopia where ...
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