State identity narratives and threat construction in the Horn of Africa: revisiting Ethiopia's 2006 intervention in Somalia

State identity narratives and threat construction in the Horn of Africa: revisiting Ethiopia's 2006 intervention in Somalia

Author: 
Newbery, Katharina M. B.
Place: 
Oxon
Publisher: 
Taylor & Francis Group
Date published: 
2021
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
Journal of North African Studies
Source: 
Journal of Eastern African Studies,Vol. 15, No. 2, 2021, pp. 255-273
ISSN: 
0305-7070
Abstract: 

The Ethiopian military intervention to remove the Union of Islamic Courts from Mogadishu in December 2006 has been interpreted in overlapping narratives of historical-religious conflict between Ethiopia and Somalia, proxy war with Eritrea, and counter-terrorism. This article adds another: the Ethiopian government's own dominant narrative of danger at the time. Based on a discourse analysis of materials generated during a year of fieldwork in Addis Ababa, the article explores how Ethiopia's political leadership constructed developments in Somalia as an existential threat to the Ethiopian state. It argues that the language and actions of specific actors were presented as threatening the idea of the post-1991 Ethiopian state and, more specifically, the foundational narrative with which the EPRDF-led Ethiopian government sought ontological security for Ethiopia as a distinct political community and international actor. By focusing on the relationship between processes of collective identity formation and perceptions of (in)security, this article highlights the role of state identity narratives for understanding evolving threat perceptions and their political implications in the Horn of Africa.

Language: 
Country focus: 

CITATION: Newbery, Katharina M. B.. State identity narratives and threat construction in the Horn of Africa: revisiting Ethiopia's 2006 intervention in Somalia . Oxon : Taylor & Francis Group , 2021. Journal of Eastern African Studies,Vol. 15, No. 2, 2021, pp. 255-273 - Available at: http://library.au.int/state-identity-narratives-and-threat-construction-horn-africa-revisiting-ethiopias-2006-intervention