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AN INTEGRATED APPROACH TO THE STUDY OF ETHNICITY AND ITS RELEVANCE TO ETHIOPIA [Abstract ID: 0513-10]
Despite decades old study of ethnicity, scholars have largely failed to answer basic questions that are pertinent to the topic because they study it from a single perspective (either from primordialism, constructivism, or instrumentalism) and such an isolated study could not fully elaborate the phenomenon. Consequently, as a remedy to this problem, an integrated approach to the study of ethnicity has been formulated by Philip Q. Yang. Thus, the central objective of this paper was to examine this new approach and test its relevance to the Ethiopian case, where ethnic identity has been playing a major role since the middle of 20th century. To this effect, primary and secondary data was collected through participant observation and document review. Accordingly, the integrated approach of ethnicity is found to include the central arguments of primordialism, constructivism, and instrumentalism. This approach is also found to be very crucial to understand and explain past and present Ethiopian socio-political systems, their concomitant ethnic policies and the political struggles thereof. This work thus concludes that, with all its limitations, studying such complex and dynamic issue as ethnicity requires adopting an integrated or holistic approach so that one could have a better picture of the issue at hand.