n African Renaissance - Rethinking political crises in the Horn of Africa : local approaches to the territorial border in Ethiopia's eastern borderlands

Volume 11, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1744-2532
  • E-ISSN: 2516-5305


Political crises are often more interconnected in the Horn of Africa than in other parts of the continent. The region challenges established notions of statehood and the trajectory of state formation in Africa. This paper argues that the Horn of Africa exhibits dynamic processes of state formation that differ from those found elsewhere on the continent because of the diverse meanings attached to territorial borders in the region. The paper singles out Ethiopia as a case where these meanings can be observed and examined. The paper traces how local actors in Ethiopia's eastern borderlands along the border with Somalia perceive and operationalise the border. The main argument of the paper is that the border underlines the borderland identity of local populations and is also a source of their livelihoods. However, this formulation occasionally challenges the relationship between the borderlands and the Ethiopian state and between the latter and neighbouring countries.

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