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Centre, périphérie, conflit et formation de l’État depuis Ménélik II : Les crises de et dans l’État éthiopien (XIXe-XXIe siècle)

Abstract : This work deals with contemporary Ethiopian armed conflicts (nature and forms) out of a reflexion on the state trajectory. The Ethiopian state is to be studied in the continuity of the empire built by Menelik II at the end of the XIXth century, whose borders have remained almost unchanged since then (except the Eritrean independence in 1993). The particular perception of the Ethiopian political space studied in terms of “centre” and “periphery” is also embedded in this imperial period. A perception which remains characteristic of Ethiopian studies, considering the Ethiopian armed conflicts as opposing a “centre” (considered synonymous with “modern state”) to its “peripheries” inherited from the imperial conquests (seen as “traditional societies”). The thesis is thus built out of these three following themes which represent the core of the reflexion: the Ethiopian empire- and state formation, armed conflicts, and the centre-periphery relation. In fact, the centre-periphery relation has been determinant in the theories dealing with empires- and state-formation. Here, I aim at redefining the relationship between state-formation and the centre-periphery theories by using the notions of “central political sector” and “peripheral political sector” (Coulon 1972). The State shall then be considered as a historical process produced by the formation (formal, symbolical, and cognitive) of these sectors. The sectors are dependent of each other and their characteristics derive from constant economic, social and political reconfigurations. They shall be considered in a same whole which produces the Ethiopian state and its identity, its nation. The thesis analyses the relationship between the formation of these two political sectors and armed conflicts in order to rethink the dominant view considering conflicts as a centre conflicting against its peripheries. Illustrated by the study of three regions (which have been experiencing armed conflicts since the imperial period, i.e. Eritrea, Gambella and Afar), and focusing on their constant and changing relations (formal or perceived) with the Ethiopian state, this work confirms the existence of three main conflict trends (interdependent and sometimes cumulative): the conflict between the two sectors, the conflict within the central sector, and the conflict within the peripheral sector. Finally, I argue that the current Ethiopian conflicts derive from a dual state crisis: a crisis “of” the Ethiopian state (the radical refusal of the state), and a crisis “within” the Ethiopian state (refusal of the regime or the government, but not the State itself). This dual crisis inherited from the imperial period took form during the second reign of Haile Selassie (1941-1974). The roots of contemporary armed conflicts in Ethiopia have to be situated in such a crisis, and their continuation in its resilience
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Jean-Nicolas Bach. Centre, périphérie, conflit et formation de l’État depuis Ménélik II : Les crises de et dans l’État éthiopien (XIXe-XXIe siècle). Science politique. Sciences Po Bordeaux, 2011. Français. ⟨tel-02571731⟩

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