A presentation by Leonardo Arriola, University of California, Berkeley. Part of the Spring 2011 Monday Africa Seminar Series "Institutions, Democratization and Citizenship in Africa" organzied by Edmond Keller, Department of Political Science and funded by a grant from the UCLA International Institute.
Under what conditions do marginalized ethnic groups mobilize anti-government protests? This paper examines the onset and duration of political protests in the Oromia region of Ethiopia after disputed parliamentary elections held in 2005. Conventional explanations would attribute such anti-government protests to historical grievances shared by the region’s titular ethnic group. However, such accounts are insufficient to explain protest patterns in terms of their spatial distribution or levels of violence. Using data from unpublished government records, I show that the likelihood of protest onset is inversely related to partisan as well as ethnic heterogeneity at the district level. Measures of economic and political grievance, by contrast, show no impact on protest onset. I further show that, once protests did erupt, violence was more likely to spiral where ethnic Oromo protesters were confronted by federal police based on multiethnic personnel rather than local police staffed by ethnic Oromos.
Leonardo Arriola is assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on the formation of political coalitions and power-sharing in African countries. His recently completed book manuscript, “Opposition and Capital in Africa: Coalition Building in Multiethnic Societies,” examines the role of financial resources in bargaining across ethnic cleavages among opposition politicians. His current research examines how election violence influences power sharing after contested elections in Africa. A PhD from Stanford University, he has conducted field research in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, and Senegal. He has previously been a Fulbright scholar at the Institute of Ethiopian Studies at Addis Ababa University, a visiting researcher at the West African Research Center in Dakar, Senegal, and a predoctoral fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford University. He is currently a visiting scholar at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies.
Cost: Free and open to the public
Sponsor(s): African Studies Center
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