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THE BORDER REGION OF SEN'AFE AND TSERONA: THE PEOPLE WITHOUT BORDER [Abstract ID: 0502-14]
This paper explores the Eritrea-Ethiopian borderland communities' localized everyday cross-border socio-economic activities and relations from the independence of Eritrea in 1991 to the outbreak of border war in May 1998 through the cases of Tserona and Sen'afe regions. The aim is to understand how the border is experienced, defined and understood in daily lives by in inhabitants of the borderland. The findings reflect that the arbitrarily superimposed international border between Eritrea and Ethiopia has not only failed to affect the pre-existing social, cultural and religious homogeneity among the people, but also everyday cross-border experiences and relations. Despite the change in form and function of the border because of the change in the political landscape between the two countries, the people living in this area maintained their intra-ethnic socio-economic relations and contacts. Subsequently, the border and identity lines remained fluid and invisible. The paper is mediated through individual stories, in-depth interviews, ethnographic observations, media sources and some archival materials gathered from local and national archival centers from Eritrea during summer 2017.