SEMINAR – Anxious Ethiopia: state identity narratives and foreign policy


Anxious Ethiopia: state identity and foreign policy during EPRDF rule

Friday 24th May, 2 PM

@ French Center for Ethiopian Studies, Berhanou Abebe Library (CFEE, Jan Meda)


By Katharina Newbery (IPSS, AAU)

Katharina Newbery is a research fellow of the Institute of Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) at Addis Ababa University. She holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of St Andrews (UK).

The role that state identity narratives have played in shaping Ethiopian foreign policy and international relations has, so far, received little attention. Explanations of Ethiopia’s involvement in the Horn of Africa, for example, have primarily focused on successive governments’ responses to ‘objective’ threats to Ethiopia’s national security, historical conflict patterns, relations between regional security elites, and alignments with more powerful global actors. In this context, it is often implied that official discourse merely distracts us from ‘the real politics’ that happens behind closed doors, removed from public view. At most, government representations are seen as a strategic tool with which those in power seek legitimacy, support for specific policies and their hold on power. In this presentation, Katharina seeks to offer a perspective that goes beyond this instrumentalist line of argumentation. She asks: what happens when we pay attention to how the Ethiopian government narrated Ethiopia, its place in the world, and specific developments, actors and political communities beyond its borders? What does this focus let us see, or see differently, when it comes to thinking about the drivers and enablers of interventions, about threat perceptions and security-seeking practices? Based on an ongoing book project, she will address these questions by looking at how the EPRDF government narrated the Ethiopian state from the early 1990s until 2016 – both as an imagined political community and as an international actor – and how these different narratives shaped its long-term political and military involvement in Somalia.


Citer ce billet
Secrétaire Scientifique (2024, 15 mai). SEMINAR – Anxious Ethiopia: state identity narratives and foreign policy. UN ŒIL SUR LA CORNE / AN EYE ON THE HORN. Consulté le 15 juin 2024, à l’adresse

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