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Ethiopia's civil wars: Postcolonial modernity and the violence of contested national belonging

Nations and Nationalism

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["Nations and Nationalism, EarlyView. ", "\nAbstract\nThis article investigates the historical and structural foundations of the war between the northern Tigray region of Ethiopia and the federal government. It does so by employing Mamdani's theoretical framework of rethinking the politics of national belonging. The article considers one of the central propositions in Mamdani's broad vision of political decolonisation, that of reimagining the relationship between nation and state in the face of violent contestations over national belonging. The article argues that the recurring civil wars in Ethiopia indicate that the country's ongoing pursuit of a nation‐state is a futile exercise that will continue to produce cycles of political violence. Despite not being colonised, Ethiopia has not escaped the destructive consequences of colonial modernity that the rest of the postcolonial world continues to grapple with. The article thus locates Ethiopia's protracted and violent search for nationhood within the narrative of postcolonial modernity in Africa.\n"]