Processes of identity formation : The profound mechanisms of changing identities in the contemporary Ethiopian conflict

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för statsvetenskap (ST)

Abstract: In the study of identity and conflict, much research has focused on a macro-perspective where two or more antagonists are in conflict of power. Social construction of identity, and more precisely identity as social categories that are changeable and the result of discourse, human thinking and action provides a picture of how identity may change as context changes. A  social constructionist perspective also provides an understanding about the endogenous relationship between identity and conflict where they both influence each other. In November 2020, an armed conflict broke out in Ethiopia where ethnicity and ethnic identity played a big role, both historically and contemporary. The aim of this study is to understand the more profound mechanisms of how the conflict has contributed to identity formation by interviewing Ethiopians. The results show that the conflict in Ethiopia contributed to change the respondents attitude towards other people, religion, politics, ethnicity/nationality and future. The five categories are understood as processes in which they have affected, and often deteriorated trust and attitude towards the said object. The results thus showed how the conflict through the five processes, contributed to change the respondents identity. Understanding the five processes of how conflicts affect identity provides an interesting insight about the mechanisms that tend to drive conflict in the endogenous relationship between identity and conflict. 

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