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International Journal for Social Studies ISSN: 2455-3220

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September 2016

Flicking Through the History of Ethiopia for Associating

With the Theoretical Perpectives of Sociology: The Case of
Politico-Religious Scene
Nahom Eyasu

Mekelle University College of Social Sciences and Languages Department of Sociology

Mekelle, Ethiopia

Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in forms of religious institution and its function
Africa and strong claim to being the oldest on the society and on and on. The conflict
country of the world. Being studied Ethiopia perspective on those periods were related
history is being studied about the power with the actual occurrences of limited
relations of the people, the chaos, the resource such as power, problem
conflict and the clashes of the states and the succession, the need to prestige and honor,
people, the mutually cooperation and the ambitious of supremacy, respect,
consensus of the society, the ways of dominancy over the individuals in the
governance and the hierarchical society and so forth were laying the
administration of the state in the given time presences of war, conflict, revolution, and
and place, which means the image of any competition in Ethiopia history. At last not
society is a historically specific image. So, the least, the symbolical interactionism
these basic premises for being studied perspective was able to be associated with
history on the politico-religious arena are the history of Ethiopia on the ways that our
too much interlinked with the theoretical identity or sense of self is shaped by social
perspectives of sociology: Functionalism, interaction, human beings are distinctly
Conflict theory, and Symbolical always concerned to study the ways in which
interactionism theory. Functionalism people give meaning to their feelings, their
actions, and to the wider social world in which
perspective on the ancient, medieval, and
their lives exist, society is actually created by
modern time of Ethiopia stated the existence
people interacting together on a daily basis
of social structure, the diplomatic relation
and so on.
for making the state to be perpetuating, the

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Key Words: History; Ethiopia; professor Bernal and Hansbery assured that
the Ethiopian people and their ancestors
Theoretical Perspectives; Sociology;
were not migrated from the Arabia, but
Politics; Religious
rather they are native and indigenous
Introduction because it is a cradle of human kind (Bernal,
1897; Hansberry, 1981), and based on
Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in
linguistic evidences, Dr. Labiso confirmed
Africa and one of the oldest countries in the
that the people were migrated and settled
world (Munro-Hay, 1991; Henze, 1985: 3;
from Ethiopia to Europe and Asia across the
Bahru, 1991:1). What are believed to be the
oldest remains of a human ancestor ever found, red sea in the first time, which means the

which has been dated as being some five million European and Asian peoples genealogy
years old, were discovered in the Awash Valley and/or family tree were tracing back from
in Ethiopia (Henze, 2001). This beats the Ethiopia (Lapiso, 1999:68).
discovery of "Lucy", a 3.2 million year old
skeleton, who was unearthed in the same area in By the above historical inception in
1974, so Ethiopia is a strong claim to being the Ethiopia, being studied Ethiopia history does
oldest country of the world (Bahru, 1991:7; not mean being studied the birth and the
Henze, 2000:1). death of the kings, the queens, the nobles,
the topography and the landscape, the
Some scholars believe that the tradition held
environment and the climate of the state, but
by the Ethiopian people that their ancestors
rather studying in all about the power
migrated from Arabia to their present home
relations of the people, the chaos, the
on the Horn of Africa accords with Biblical
conflict, and the clashes of the states and the
accounts of the Semitic peoples, as well as
people, the mutually cooperation and
with the writings of the Ancient Greeks and
consensus of the society, the ways of
Romans (Abebe Zegeye et al., 1955).
governance and the hierarchical
However, these findings were demoted by
administration of the state in the given time
the American Professor Martin Bernal,
and place (Lapiso, 1999), which means the
Professor Hansberry, and Dr. Labiso based
image of any society is a historically
on the paleontology and the linguistic
specific image (Mills, 2000:149). So, these
evidences. Based on the paleontology,

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September 2016

basic premises for being studied history are Functionalists see social stability is
too much interlinked with the theoretical necessary to have a strong society, and
perspectives of sociology: Functionalism, adequate socialization and social integration
Conflict theory, and Symbolical are necessary to achieve social stability;
interactionism theory (Mooney et al., 2007). social institutions perform important
These perspectives tend to focus on a way of functions to help ensure social stability
looking at various features of the world-an (Burrell and Morgan, 2005). Slow social
orientation that suggests methods for change is desirable, but rapid social change
studying the social experience and finding threatens social order, and it is also
explanations for it, and are aids-mental categorized as the terms functional and
constructs-that allow you to visualize dysfunctional to describe the effects of
something (Carpenter, 2012). Thus, a given social elements on society (Mooney et al.,
theoretical paradigm or school of thought 2007). Elements of society are functional if
may have its own general assumption they contribute to social stability and
concerning views of human beings and dysfunctional if they disrupt social stability
motivation (Ogunbameru, 2005). In other (Merton, 1968). Sociologists have identified
words, the adherents of each perspective ask two types of functions: manifest and latent:
somewhat different questions about society manifest functions are consequences that are
and so provide us with different images of intended and commonly recognized where
social life (Scherer, 2009) as latent functions are consequences that are
Each of these views is based on general unintended and often hidden (Merton,
ideas as to how social life is organized and 1968).
represented an effort to link specific Conflict theorists see society in terms of
observations in a meaningful way many groups in conflict, competing for
(Hutchison, 2012). Or, each theoretical scarce resources (Carpenter, 2012), which
perspective offers a variety of explanations means groups are constantly competing for
about the social world and human behavior unequally distributed resources, such as
(Mooney et al., 2007; Hutchison and wealth and power, with each group seeking
Charlesworth, 2009). to benefit their own interests (Hutchison and
Charlesworth, 2009; Ogunbameru, 2005).

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Symbolical interactionists most fascinating variety of social structures, there is a variety

aspects of the social world are the everyday, of principles of historical change within
routine interactions among individuals that periods and times (Mills, 2000:150);
we often take for granted, and society and therefore, the writer of this article is able to
these larger social structures must be associate these historical changes in periods
understood through studying social to the basic theoretical perspectives of
interactions that are based on shared sociology such as Functionalism, Conflict
understandings, languages, and symbols and Symbolic interactionism as much as
(Stolley, 2005). possible.
In general, the theoretical perspectives of 1. Theoretical Perspectives of Sociology
sociology on the history of Ethiopia mainly and the History of Ethiopia: the Birds
classified in to three: ancient, medieval, and Eye View
modern (Hari, 1990). The ancient period of
The present period of sociological theorizing
Ethiopia was occurred from before 4.2
is characterized by a diversity of theoretical
million years to The Zagwe Dynasty (Hari,
approaches and perspectives (Merton, 1957).
1990). The medieval period of Ethiopia was
Sociological theories are necessary because
emerged from Yekuno Amlak, claiming to
without theory our understanding of social
be a descendant of King Solomon and
life would be very weak. Good theories help
Queen Sheba, established the Solomonic
us to arrive at a deeper understanding of
dynasty in 1270 to the end of the Era of
societies and to explain the social changes
Princes in 1855 (Lapiso, 1999; Bahru,
that affect us all (Merton, 1968).
1991). And, modern time of Ethiopia was
begun from the rise of emperor Tewodros II
A sociological perspective was made
to the fall down of the Derg regime in 1991
possible by two revolutionary
(Bahru, 2001).
transformations. The Industrial Revolution
These periods in Ethiopia categorized as the
of the late eighteenth and nineteenth
historical change (Marcus, 1994), which
centuries radically transformed the material
means for historical change is change of
conditions of life and bringing with it,
social structures, of the relations among
initially at least, many new social problems.
their component parts, just as there is a

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And, The French Revolution of 1789 1.1. Functionalism Theoretical

marked the symbolic endpoint of the older Perspective
European agrarian regimes and absolute
monarchies as republican ideals of freedom, From the days of the founding fathers of

liberty and citizenship rights came to the sociology such as August Comte and Emile

fore. Enlightenment philosophers saw the Durkheim in France, or Karl Marx, Max

advancement of reliable knowledge in the Weber and Georg Simmel in Germany,

natural sciences, particularly in astronomy, sociologists have struggled with the question

physics and chemistry, as showing the way of interpreting social life and social

forward for the study of social life phenomena (Carpenter, 2012).

(Sociology, 2016). In its inception, functionalism as a

theoretical perspective attempted to explain
Sociologists view society in different ways. social institutions as collective means to
Some such as August Comte, Herbert meet human needs (Durkheim, 1964b).
Spencer, and Emile Durkheim see world Classical functionalists, hence, had a close
basically as a stable and ongoing entity. affinity with the predominant evolutionary
They are impressed with the endurance of thinking of their time as it could be
the family, organized religion and other illustrated in their tendency towards
social institutions. Some sociologists such as biological analogy and notions of societal
Karl Marx see society as composed of many evolutionism (Hawkins, 1997)).
groups in conflict, competing for scarce The functionalism paradigm owes much to
resources. To other sociologists like Max the ideas of August Comte, who was
Weber, Georg Simmel, the most fascinating concerned about how society could remain
aspects of the social world are the every, unified while undergoing massive change,
routine interaction among individuals that this led sociologists to give emphasis on
are sometimes take for granted. These three how society could remain integrated by
views, the ones most widely used by maintaining its stability and social order
sociologists, are the functionalist, conflict, (Pickering, 2003).
and interactionist perspectives (Schaefer,
Another who advanced this theoretical
approach was the English sociologist

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Herbert Spencer. He asserted that the in which modern societies maintain their
structural parts of human body-the skeleton, social integration. These early functionalists
muscles and various internal organs such as because they drew on the work of natural
the heart, lung, kidney and others are scientists, they compared society to a living,
interdependent and each one has a function evolving organism. Societies develop social
that contributes to the survival of the human structures, or institutions that persist because
organism (Carpenter, 2012). Likewise, they play a part in helping society survive.
Spencer reasoned that the elements of Later on, American sociologists like Talcott
human society are interdependent and work Parsons and Robert Merton refined
together to keep society operating. This furthermore the functionalism school of
approach, then, leads sociologists to identify thought (Jones, 2003).
the various parts of society, asking what part
Therefore, the writer of this paper has tried
each plays in the operation of the whole
to illustrate in what extent could be applied
(Turner, 2003).
functionalism theoretical perspective on the
ancient, medieval, and modern periods of
Ethiopia as the follow:
Before the development of functionalism, social
explanations were most predominantly evolutionary: the
evolutionary perspective rests on a combination of two 1.1.1. Ancient time
aspects: causality and selection. The ways of explaining
such aspects were depended on the two types of The ancient history of Ethiopia was started
evolutionary explanation: Sociobiology, which used
to the social structure in existence before
biological factors such as race, to explain social
phenomena; and biological-analogy, which tries to explain and during the period of South Arabian
social processes by drawing on analogies with biological contacts (Lapiso, 1982). The ancient people
processes: through time, institutions and even whole
of Ethiopia were living in a different place
societies undergo evolutionary selection in its goal of
structural and functional adaptation (Spencer, 1965; and area in order for gathering some wild
Hawkins, 1997). fruits and hunting their wild animals to be
Emile Durkheim continued the development survived before 10,000 B.C. (Henze, 2000).
of functionalism paradigm as the father of Homo Habilis flaked stone in to knives,
functionalism in classical period in France. hand axes, choppers, and other pointed tools
Like Spencer, Durkheim investigated ways for domestic use and for hunting. While the

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women and the juveniles foraged nearby and enables proto-Ethiopians to advance in to
collected 75 percent of the groups food, the the temperate plateau to clear the land,
man ranged away from the campsite in the which cultivated with the plow, a feature of
quest for game (Marcus, 1994:2). Much of highlands as old there as the agriculture
the linguistic development came after the itself (Henze, 2000), which means the
eighteenth millennium B.C., as population earliest period of indigenous occupation at
grew consequent to the domestication and only village and or hamlet level with on
the herding cattle, goats, sheep and donkey special preference for situations (Sergew,
and the intensive collection of wild grains 1972). Of comparable on significances of
(Marcus, 1994)., though some scholars like those social structures in Ethiopia at this
Adejumobi believed that such period was period, the people are those who were lived
the period of prehistory (Adejumobi, 2007). on that structures formed their own
Such occurrences in Ethiopia can be autonomous governance systems, small
associated to the functional perspective that nucleated settlements, institutionalized
society is held together by social consensus, traditional beliefs and no large religious
in which members of the society agree up sanctuaries, the means of communications,
on, and work together to achieve, what is the social values and norms, their own
best for society as a whole, it is identities and so forth to be implemented
characterized by a concern for providing their political arenas (Lapiso, 1982; 1999).
explanations of the status quo, social order, These happenings are able to link with the
consensus, social integration, solidarity, functional perspectives of sociology that
need satisfaction and actuality (Burrell and each aspects of society is interdependent and
Morgan, 2005:18). contributes to societys stability and
functioning as a whole in the social system
Becoming the sense of private property of
(Spencer, 1965). By this fact, the family of
those people; however, they wanted to live
ancient Ethiopia had their own roles to
in one specific area as used traditional
preserve the existence of politics i.e.
agriculture as the livelihood in the shores of
designing how to make govern and control
rivers and lakes (Tekletsadik, 1974). The
the people, and make a diplomatic relation
grater versatility of these cultivated foods
with other peoples, and the economic

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conditions for the facilitating of the political diplomacy linkage with King Solomon in
emergences (Tadesse, 2009; Aba Israel around 1000 B.C (Marcus, 1994).
Gorgoriyos, 1994). In more specifically, the These histories can make to relate with,
presence of the function of religious, therefore, functionalists that our survival
politics, and economy during this period depends on our ability to maintain a
made the society is to be perpetuated precarious balance among the living and
(Tadesse, 2009; Hansberry, 1981). This is nonliving component comprising the
also interlinked with the central concern of biosphere, including the county (Hughes et
functionalism is that the explanation of the al., 1999)
apparent stability and internal cohesion of One of the ways that built a diplomatic
societies necessary to ensure their continued relations with the other countries was
existence over time (Rakhi and Licy, 2011) indicated by on the ways that following their
religious (Tadesse, 2009; Munro-Hay,
To be continuing the perpetuation of its
1991)). During the pre-Christian period, the
overall actions in the world, the Axumite
worship of Ethiopia was taken from the
kingdom had made a diplomatic relation
South Arabian gods such as Astar, Ilmuqah,
within aboard countries for making their
Nuru, Habas, Dhat Himyam, and Dhat
countries peace and stable (Munro-Hay,
Baadan and Ilmulah, they could not be
1991). Despite the fact that the Axums
mentioned by the Axumite inscription, but
relations with abroad were uncertain, it
this inscription concentrate mainly on Astar,
made relations of Meroe, South Arabia,
Beher, Meder and particularly Mahrem,
Rome, Constantinople/Byzantium, Palmyra,
identified with Ares (Munro-Hay, 1991).
Persia, India, Sri Lanka, the Far East for the
Mahrem was the Axumite royal or dynastic
purposes of maintaining their stability
god, who was regarded as the father of the
(Munro-Hay, 1991). This period somehow
king, and his invincible guard from danger,
illustrated that Ethiopia was linked with
there was taking place a ritual ceremony of
Egypts queen Hatshepsut on the ways of
thank-offerings after the campaign (Hunro-
diplomatic relations on the form of trade in
Hay, 1991). These relations based on
1500 B.C. (Tekeletsadek, 1974); queen of
religious can inter-relate to the point of
Ethiopia, Makeda (queen Sheba) formed a
functionalism that the unified system of

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beliefs, rituals, and practices associated with While in Ethiopia, queen Sheba was reversed as an
Ethiopian queen named Makeda, in ancient and medieval
religion provided a community with
Palestine and Arabia it was widely believed that the
collective representations that helped to renowned Queen of Shewa was actually an ancient Arabian

create a sense of social order and establish queen named Belkis, and that the Yemenite kingdom of
Himyar was her ancestral domain. However, the
the foundation for all other social
archeological discoveries and various historical tracts leave
relationships (Durkheim, 1965). little doubt that Ethiopia was in fact the mother of the
Queen of Sheba (Adejumobi, 2007).
However, Axum immediately changed from
believing Mahrem to Christianity during the When the expansion of Christianity in

reign of Ezana at 4th A.D (Tadesse, 2009)). Ethiopia around 4th C A. D., the religious

And then the first Christian kings such as education was limited to expand, but after a

Ezana implemented the dogma of while during Amde Tsion and Zerayakob, it

Christianity in to Ethiopia in practically way was apace grown up (Haileselassie I, 1937).

and widely expanded by the Nine Saints Christianization of Ethiopia led to the

who came from eastern Roman Empire by commencement of hierarchical system of

showing unbelievable miracles, salvage the religious instruction organized and presented

peoples chronic problems and so on (Aba under the aegis of the Ethiopian Orthodox

Gorgoriyos, 1994). Such type of ancient Church (Damtew and Altbach, 2003:317).

Ethiopia history is able to concurrence with Monasteries and convents of the Ethiopian

the functional perspective that, which is Orthodox Church were the epicenters of

highly pragmatic in orientation, concerned such educational system whose utmost

to understand society in a way which objective was producing religious

generates knowledge which can be put to functionaries (Pankhurst, 1968: 666). And,

use; it is often problem-orientated in the Christianity and its education were

approach, concerned to provide practical adjudged to the countys king, nobles and

solutions to practical problems (Burrell and their families in order to endorse the

Morgan, 2005:18). expansion of Christianity in overall the

individuals. (Mengistutu, 2004). Hence, the
functionalism perspective supports the
above idea that collective representations
such as the ideas, beliefs, and values shared

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by a religious community that generate a A major problem with this approach is that in modern
societies several religions coexist, regulating and
likeminded attitude on the part of individual
integrating their followers differently; thus religious
believers (Durkheim, 1965).
pluralism will tend to work against social cohesion.
This criticism implies that Durkheims analysis of
There were burials in the main cemeteries at
religion is perhaps more appropriate to small-scale,
Axum; in the royal cemetery, the dead were
simpler societies. A second important problem is that
probably buried with considerable amount functionalism focuses on the integrative functions of
of valuable gear, and with the full panoply religion the provision of shared values and so on
of ceremony, sacrificial offerings, and so on; and tends to ignore the effect of religion as a force for
division and disharmony in society. There are many
the dead of high rank were laid in stone
societies divided over religious dogma and belief,
coffins and surrounded with their
and such divisions can be so deep-rooted as to lead to
equipments (Hunro-Hay, 1991). Here of, bitter and violent conflict (Marshal and Keating,
one of the functions of religious in the 2006:48)
society is ritual ceremony which makes A.D. Functionalists assured that if one
social solidarity (Durkheim, 1965); religion system fails, it influences to other systems to
provides the basis of the collective be dysfunctional, which means if the two
conscience the shared values and ideas religious couldnt make economical and
of a society. Religion, therefore, expresses political cooperation, it influence on their
and fulfils a social need and promotes social religious to be perpetuated and the vice
solidarity and cohesion: in other words, it versa (Merton, 1968)
binds people together (Marsh and Keating,
2006:47). 1.1.2. Medieval Period
And also, According to Lapiso (1999:37), During the medieval period, lot historical
there was a mutually cooperation of in politico-religious scenes were happened on
military, economic, and cultural attributes the ways of forming diplomatic relations,
between Muslims and Christians between aggression, territorial expansion and on and
615 and 661 on (Hari, 1990).
On the situation of diplomatic relation, the
Portuguese established and re-established
The functionalist approach suggests that religion, in contact with Ethiopia in the 1500s primarily
one form or another is a necessary feature of society.

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to strengthen their control over the Indian nobles for the purposes of keeping its
Ocean and to convert Ethiopia to Roman stability for the perennials.
Catholicism (Sergew, 1972). During this On the time of 16th C, Emperor Fasiladas
period, it had happened two significance decided to found a new capital in 1636.
situations: the Portuguese wanted to expand However, Gondar was different from its
their territory in political arena, and predecessors: it was to be the first
converting Christianity to Catholic in social permanent capital since Fasiladas plan
arena. And, Ethiopia had linked with Rome worked and Gondar flourished for well over
for more than 181 years from 1441 to 1622. a century (Marcus, 1994; Henze, 2001;
In 1441 some Ethiopian monks travel from Solomon, 2008; Mengistu, 2004). Hence,
Jerusalem for the aims of the probability of the permanent establishment of Gondar as
establishing religious partnership and a the capital city is too much acquiesced with
possible union with the Roman Catholic and the functionalists notion that social
Greek Orthodox churches (Tadesse, 2009; consensus, order and integrations allow
Aba Gorgoriyos, 1994). Therefore, society to continue and progress in one
functionalists bolster such mutually religious specific area in the given time and place
partnership on the idea that religious beliefs, because there are shared norms and values,
rituals, and practices can be significantly for that mean all individuals have a common
impacted by the society concept when the goal and have a vested interest in
society or the state at large describes and conforming (Rakhi and Licy, 2011).
explains oneself in terms of religious Following that, almost all foreign countries
affiliation (Carpenter, 2012). Besides that, in which they lived in Ethiopia fought
functionalists also recognize that as one part against Ethiopians in implicit and explicit
of the system changes, other parts of the way, and yet the society abominated those
system have to readjust to accommodate the countries for the reasons that they were
change that has taken place elsewhere murdering lot Ethiopians, and endangered its
(Stolley, 2005:23), which is why the kings sovereignty. So, Susenyos son and
of Ethiopia made a well organized relations successor, Fasiladas, expelled the meddling
with other countries and within the internal Jesuits and forbade all foreigners to set foot
in his empire for a long period of time for

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being made the states and the societys The actual pioneer of the modern period of
peace and security (Solomon, 2008). By this Ethiopia was begun during the king of
concussion, the functionalists announce that unifier, innovator, and reformer, i.e. King
the nature of individual behavior or decision Tewodros II In 1855, this is due to the fact
making was always considered in that he had tried to enwrap and begird many
relationship to the degree of influence held of the princes together for being come to
by the larger community (Carpenter, stability, modernization, and civilization
2012:2). Or, society influences our human (Adejumobi, 2007). Thence, this historical
actions but that society is also something event can be associated with the functionalist
that exists beyond individuals (Durkheim, perspective that political institutions used as

1964b). collective means to meet individual and social

needs (Carpenter, 2012).
At the same century, under the ample
patronage of church and state, the arts and During the Minilik II, the Treaty of Wechale
crafts flourished. Impressive churches were was signed between Ethiopia and Italy in
built, among them the famous Debre Berhan order to bring peace in between the two
Selassie in Gondar, which can be seen to countries during the colonization period;
this day (Aba Gorgoriyos, 1994). Outside however, it led to come over the Adwa war
Gondar, building projects included some between the two countries; the main
remarkable churches at Lake Tanas historic disagreement was brought from the
monasteries (Tadesse Tamrat, 2009; Haile versions interpretation of Italian and
Selassie I, 1937). This concept gets Ethiopian (Pankhurst, 2001; Tilahun, 1993).
adminicle from the functionalism This conception is able to associate with the
perspective that mutual consensus in one notion that disorganization or disagreement
phenomenon makes social integration in the system leads to change because societal
(Mooney et al., 2007). One of the indicators components must adjust to achieve stability.
for this concept is that religious is instituted When one part of the system is not working or is
by the social consensus, and again it makes dysfunctional, it affects all other parts and

social integration (Hadden, 1997). creates social problems, which means if the two
countries could not be reached consensus on
1.1.3. Modern Time
their treaties, it leads to war, and this war also

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affects the economic, the social, and the the field of foreign affairs too attempt to be
environmental situations as the whole system improving the countrys international image,
(Shildrich and Rucell 2015). abolishing the Ethiopian slave trade, peace-
Unforgotten contribution of Minilik II for keeping the countries and doctrines of
Ethiopia was the greatest technological human and democratic rights in the
achievement in the forms of construction of principles (Haile Selassie I, 1937).So,
Ethiopias railway, education, ways of functionalism perspective views society as a
forming the central government and so forth complex system of interrelated parts
for the aim of facilitating political conditions working together to maintain stability
in Ethiopia (Bahru Zewde, 2001). (Parsons 1951; Turner and Maryanski 1979).
Functionalist believed on this history is that
social systems parts are interdependent; the The UN decision, given in 1950, is that
system has a normal healthy state of Eritrea shall become part of Ethiopia from
equilibrium, analogous to a healthy body; 1952, as an autonomous federal province
and when disturbed, the system parts with its own constitution and elected
reorganize and readjust to bring the system government. In that year an Eritrean
back to a state of equilibrium, any changes administration duly takes control, bringing
in society occur in structured, evolutionary to an end the temporary British rule in the
ways (Wallace and Wolf 1999:18). For the region (Lapiso, 1993). Therefore,
more explanation, the types of social functionalists believe that society is held
institutions like education, politics and together by social consensus, or cohesion, in
others are functionally integrated to form a which members of the society agree upon,
stable system, and that a change in one and work together to achieve, what is best
institution will precipitate a change in other for society as a whole (Rakhi and Licy,
institutions, it addresses society as a whole 2011).
in terms of the function of its constituent
After the Ethio-Italy war (1935-41), the
elements (Rakhi and Licy, 2011).
restored emperor continues to give Ethiopia
Emperor Haileselasie and his society were a leading role among the nations of Africa
also giving his intention for domestic and in (Pankhurst, 2001). The most notable

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example of this is the establishment of the the parts of society produce order, stability,
Organization of Africans Union for the and productivity. If all does not go well, the
continuity of their diplomacy (Bahru Zewde, parts then must adapt to recapture a new
2001). This notable action is inter-related to order, stability, and productivity (Rakhi and
the functionalist perspective that to study the Licy, 2011).
function of a social practice or political 1.2. Conflict Theory
institution is to analyze the contribution Historical conflicts start, as a rule, with a
which that practice, or institution, makes to community which is socially pretty highly
the continuation of society (Shildrich and organized, such conflicts have to arise
Rucell, 2015). between different groups where there is an
attitude of hostility to others involved, but
Totally, the socio-political situation which
even here a wider social organization is
are genuinely tried to illustrate on the
usually the result (Mead, 1962: 303). So,
modern time is entirely had to do with the
obviously, wars were frequent events throughout
basic perspective of functionalism, the
Ethiopian history. Internal wars were fought
stability of the society incredibly a positive mainly for territorial expansion, political
impact of the presence of education, making supremacy and because of tribal feuds of one sort
a diplomatic relation with other countries, or another (Menale Adugna, 2013:1)

withstanding the behaviours of society in the By the above inception, the origins of the
forms of judges and other instance courts, conflict perspective can be traced to the
incorporating unjust phenomena in the classic works of Karl Marx; he suggested
normal and so forth and the vice versa, that all societies go through stages of
which means society is a system of economic development (Mooney et al.,
interconnected parts that work together in 2007). This perspective has become popular
harmony to maintain a state of balance and over and over again throughout
social equilibrium for the whole; it
emphasizes the interconnectedness of In sociology, the conflict perspective has two traditions: a
society by focusing on how each part utopian tradition that foresees a society in which there is no
longer a basis for social conflict, and a second tradition that
influences and is influenced by other parts
sees conflict as inevitable in social life (Hutchison et al.,
(Mooney, 2007). Ensemble, if all goes well, 2012:43).

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external conflict, he is thinking about more

history, with roots that can be traced back to violent conflict.(Rakhi and Licy, 2011:32).
German philosopher George Hegel (1770 Therefore, the writer of this article has tried
1831) and Italian philosopher Niccolo to associate the historical phenomena of
Machiavelli (14691527), and perhaps even Ethiopia with the theoretical perspectives of
further, drawing attention to conflict, sociology in conflict as the follows:
dominance, and oppression in social life
Sociologist Max Weber pointed to the importance of
(Collins, 1994; Ritzer, 2008b; Antonio,
not just economic factors in producing and sustaining
2003). The conflict perspective typically
inequality, but also the influence of power, status and
looks for sources of conflict and causes of prestige in perpetuating dominant relations ( Nahom
human behavior in the economic factor and Eyasu, 2016:17; Shildrick and Rucell, 2015).
political inequality arenas, and more 1.2.1. Ancient Time
recently in the cultural arena (Hutchison,
When the state Axum emerges in to the
wider light of history at the end of the first
Besides to that, Coser makes the case for
century of A. D., it is a full-blown, if not
two kinds of functional consequences of
well- integrated, trading state due to
conflict: conflict that occurs within a group
stratification. (Marcus, 1994). This is due to
and conflict that occurs outside the group.
the fact that, conflict theorists, are concerned
An example of internal conflict is the
with how it is that some groups acquire
tension that can exist between indigenous
power, dominate other groups, and affect
populations or first nations and the national
their will in human efforts on the emergence
government. Notice that this internal conflict
of stratification (Ogunbameru, 2005:101).
is actually between or among groups that
Due to a dearth of information, there are less
function within the same social system.
significant evidences about the stratification
Examples of external group conflicts are the
of the Axumite society (Lapiso, 1982:1999).
wars in which a nation may involve itself.
But, there was the pertinent existence of the
When considering the consequences for
ancient peoples opened an opportunity for
internal group conflict, Coser is concerned
the structure of socio political stratification
with low-level and more frequent conflict.
(Marcus, 1994). By this fact, during the
When explaining the consequences for

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expansion Axumite kingdom, a number of the functional necessity of social inequality for the well-
being of society; they argued that social stratification
flourishing urban communities appear to be
served a function because society needed to find ways to
had grown up; the urban setting throughout ensure that its members ended up in social positions that

Ethiopia, including port, capital and market best suited them (Shildrick and Rucell, 2015). Furthermore,
inequality is an unconsciously evolved device by which
or trading towns, implies the development of
societies ensure that the most important positions are
social stratification (Munro-Hay, 1991:42). conscientiously filled by the most qualified persons. Hence

These historical occurrences of the ancient every society, no matter how simple or complex, must
differentiate persons in terms of both prestige and esteem,
period of Ethiopia pertain to the Karl Marxs
and must therefore possess a certain amount of
basic premise that social stratification institutionalized inequality, by this fact Davis and Moore,

should be brought in terms of common concluded that class stratification was inevitable because it
offered a use value or a function to society (Davis and
relationship between a group of individuals
Moore, 1945).
and means of production that makes societal
collision (Nahom, 2016). works; whereas, the peoples who were in

Social class may well have been based on urban settings had made the specialist potter,

the ownership of land (Henze, 2001; Bartos well decorative metal work, and so on for

and Wehr, 2002:30). The entire land of the kings, and their intimacies, but they were

Axum territory was governed by the king not the owners of their product (Lapiso,

himself; he had a power to give the land 1999). These peasants in rural and artisans

grant to the individuals, the churches, and in urban had also served for as military

other local institutions; the persons are those expeditions in keeping and expanding to the

who gave to services for the king and his boundaries and for being made army

families and loyalists were termed as alliances with other states, and a guard of

peasants (Munro-Hay, 1991). This category the landowners and the rulers of the

had worked hard on ploughing with oxen, dominant classs house and their social

sowing, clearing, reaping, harvesting the environments because of lack of obtaining

crops, shepherding the flocks and herds and limited resources such as land and power

so forth were their daily (Pankhurst, 1990).

The above fundamental occurrences or

events in ancient period of time in Ethiopia
Functionalists argue against the conception of social
stratification on inequality on the fact that they emphasized secured with the Karl Marxs and his

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followers assumption on the thinking that, respect of production ( Shildrick and Rucell,
expanding human requirements and 2015).
economic activities are placing ever
One of the ways the acquirement of land in
increasing pressures on land resources,
Ethiopia in ancient time was carrying out
creating competition and conflicts and
territorial expansion (Henze, 2001). The
resulting in sub-optional use of both land
Axumite kingdom justified the wars for
and land resources, and at times loss of lives
expanding its territories from each direction,
and property (Ogunbameru, 2005:102). By
and then after justification for war, the
this situation, the king of Ethiopia was the
inscription next recounts any diplomatic
ownership of the entire land of Ethiopia due
effort towards achieving a peaceful
to getting from the limited resources such as
settlement and, these failing, there finally
power, and he had a power to give some
came the decision to make war (Hari, 1990).
limited resources such as land to the
Ethiopia had a continuous war with Arabs
individuals if he wanted. Nevertheless, if
around red sea for the reasons that Ethiopia
some groups wanted to acquire such
fought Arabs across their coastline, and then
resources via war and competition, they
the Arabians assumed that the Mecca will be
would be lost their lives and property
overrun by Ethiopian, so war is needed to
because the king had well organized than the
protect their coast and their territories (Hari,
peasants (Hutchison, 2012). To be supported
1990). These happenings in ancient history
such ideas by the Karl Marxs finding that
of Ethiopia related with the conflict
Marx pointed to the stark divide between the
perspective that it explains various aspects
impoverished working classes who had
such as the acquirement land, of our social
nothing to sell but their labour, and the
world by looking at which groups have
capitalist classes who, by virtue of their
power and benefit from a particular social
ownership of the means of production, were
arrangement such as war (Mooney, 2007:2).
able to exploit this labour to their profit;
The significant evidences for this happened
society is structured via a set of objectively
situation that had been shown at the ancient
defined interests which serve to create
period of Ethiopia was king Eila Amida, his
relations of exploitation, particularly in
son Ezana, and Kaleb had made conflict

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with Sudan and Yemen for the purposes of dynasty i.e. the Zagwe dynasty in Ethiopia
territorial expansion in order for show their and substitute to see the Solomonic dynasty
dominancy over the conquered countries (Hari Atekenes, 1990:10). Its not certain
(Sergew, 1972); there was a hotly war what brought the Zagwe dynasty to an end;
between the South Arabian and the Axumite it was likely a combination of fighting
empire due to the fact that South Arabian within the ruling dynasty and local
monarchy wanted to show their political opposition from the clergy. In 1270 the
supremacy over Axumite (Munro-Hay, dynasty was overthrown by Yekuno Amlak;
1991); Axum kingdom had military new political power shifted south to the
expeditions for others countries for historical province of Shoa (Pankhurst,
territorial expansion especially for Sudan, 1990).
Yemen and Eritrea (Hari, 1990:4)
The establisher of the glory of Solomonic
1.2.2. Medieval Period dynasty, Amde Tsion had given his life for
the expansion of his territory from the
Warfare was frequent throughout the beginning of South Ethiopia, Awash,
medieval period; the countrys rulers were Gojjam, Begemeder, Shewa to Denkel with
continually in the field fighting domestic fighting to the Muslims; his warrior
vassals in rebellion or else enemies on the strategies were imitated from his grandfather
periphery of the realm, conflict on one kind and the founder of Solomonic Dynasty:
or another were, however, so common that Yukno Amlak (Hari Atekenes, 1990). These
every year many warriors spent most of the basic medieval histories of Ethiopia had
year making war (Pankhurst, 1990:13). been ensured by the conflict theorists to be
assured that, groups or the owners of the
The war between the Muslim society and the
limited power are constantly competing for
kings of Zagwe dynasty were continued and
unequally distributed resources, such as
the Muslims were tackling for Zagwe
wealth and power, with each group seeking
dynasty to make a relation and a
to benefit to satisfy their own interests. In
communication with a broad except for
this scenario, one or a few groups control
Egtpt and Sudan, these effects were
these resources at the expense of others
overwhelming to the newly emerged

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through oppression, war and other means making conflict with Muslims till 1974
(Stolley, 2005) (Aba Gorigoryos, 1994; Tadesse Tamirat,
From the 13th century, relations with the 2009, Lapiso Delebo, 1999). Such
Muslim Ethiopian emirates of Ifat and Adal happenings were entirely accustomed to the
were showing signs of strain with increasing conflict concept that these are a power
competition for control of the valuable trade struggle which is most often won by wealthy
routes land connecting the Ethiopian elite and lost to the common person of
highlands with the Red Sea; tension was common means (Rakhi and Licy, 2011).,
growing (Marcus, 1994). By this fact, one of which means a huge amount of land
the kings of Solomonic dynasty such as resources were under the control of
King Yeseaq (1416-1427) wined the Christianity, but not having Muslim with
Muslims war in order to tackle their comparing them; however, they lost their
expansion; King Zereayakob (1434-1468) small amount of resources again via war and
opened war with Muslims for prohibiting his competition (Lapiso, 1999).
land invasion by Muslims and forcefully
What the writer of this paper searched that
baptize them for being followed
there were conflicts between Muslims and
Christianity; on the period of King Lebene
Christians over 1, 332 years from the
Dengel (1508- 1544), Amhed Gragn war
beginning of the Christians who fired Jin
was occurred between the Christianity and
across the Arabian coastline in 642 A.D.
Muslims for 16 years (1527-1543); King
(Hari, 1990) to the 1974 (Lapiso, 1999:48).
Tseretse Dengel (1563-1596) was
In spite of the fact that the Christians-
confronting war with Turk around Messewa
Muslims wars were starting at 642 A.D.
port; there was a conflict between
(Hari, 1990; Adejumobi, 2007), and hotly
Christianity and Catholic during King
carrying out during the medieval period,
Susenos in the years between 1620-1622,
there were going on and off till Mengistu
and Amde Tsion (1314- 1344), Dawit I
Hailemariam came in to power; However,
(1382-1411), Tewodros I (1411-1414),
the 1529-1543 A.D. war between the
Eskinder (1478-1494), Naod (1494-1508),
Christian and Muslim was unforgotten
Gelawediwos (1540-1559), Minas (1559-
(Hari Atekenes, 1990) because it was
1563), Sertse Dengel , and others were

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plagued by some of the most costly, bloody medieval period of Ethiopia. For instance,
and wasteful fighting in Ethiopian history, in after king Sertse Dengel Altruistic suicide,
which the entire empire and its culture came his brothers sons such as Ze Dengel and
close to being wiped out (Henze, 2001). Susinoyos, and his child such as Yaecob
opened war for the purposes of achieving
To be making more specifically, King Libne
the throne of King Sertse Dengel (Hari
Dengel and Gelawediwos were fighting
Atekes, 1990) since the king of Ethiopia
against Turkish, which wanted to overrun
were coming through hereditary in a
Messawa and patronage of the expansion of
particular family following the system of
Muslim (Henze, 2001). One of the genuinely
primogeniture (Tadesse Delessa, 2006). This
indicators of such type of conflict in
is the fact that a group of individuals would
Ethiopia was that in 1535, the Emperor
have competed limited resources; here up
Lebna Dengel then Gelawodiwos made
on, the mechanism of the acquisition of such
alliance with Portuguese in fighting against
limited resources are war, competition,
Turkish and Muslims. In 1541, 400 well-
struggle and so forth (Stolley, 2005).
armed musketeers Portuguese arrived in
Besides to that, the definition of conflict
Messawa led by Dom Christovo da Gama,
offered here implies that conflict behavior
son of the famous mariner Vasco da Gama
can occur not only because the parties have
and met and defeated Ahmed Gragn and his
incompatible goals but also because they
benefactor Turkish at Woina dega in 1543,
feel hostility toward each other. Whether
those foreigners had had their own latent
you rely on your intuitive understanding of
political agenda (Pankhurst, 2001).This is
hostility or on a more formal definition such
because religion was perceived as
as an antagonism, opposition, or resistance
encouraging the underprivileged to accept
in thought or principle (Websters,
their social condition in this life by
providing the hope of a better life to come,
During the Oromo movement and
because it is the opiate of the masses (Marx,
expansion, they were fighting with King
Gelawodiwos, Sersa Dengil, and Emperor
Problem succession among the family hood
Yaqop due to their expansion and movement
was one of the root factors civil war in
(Berhanu et al., 2007:341).

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On the last not the least, from 1769 to 1855, structure strive to see it altered (Rakhi and
for over 86 years, there was no central Licy, 2011).
power in Ethiopia. This "Era of the Princes"
King Yohannes drew them into battle and
was characterized by the turmoil caused by
resoundingly routed them at Gundat in 1975
local rulers competing against each other.
and then again at Gura in 1876 because
The Era of Princes was featured rival feudal
Egyptians wanted to see to expand their
lords and their powerful provincial armies
territory from the sources of Nile. His
and country disintegrated and civil war
victories not only ended any Egyptian
became the norm (Solomon Getahun, 2005),
designs on the territory, but brought much
because competition over scarce resources is
captured weaponry, turning his army into
at the heart of all social relationships (Rakhi
the first well-equipped force in Ethiopian
and Licy, 2011; Adejumobi, 2007).
history (Tekletsadek, 1991). Therefore, such
1.2.3. Modern Time
concepts are too much interlinked with the

In the aftermath of Tewodros death, there perspective of conflict on the way that the

arose another battle for succession (Bahru, desire to dominate or escape from

2001). Using his weaponry gained from the domination is a constant motivation for

British in exchange for his support of their organized violence, whether for control

Maqdala expedition, Kassa Mercha of within existing territory or for territorial

Tigray rose to the fore. In 1871, at the battle expansion (Francis, 2004:5).

of Assam, he defeated the newly crowned Meanwhile, the Mahadists came to seize a

Emperor Tekla Giorgis. With the latter, he power and expand their boundaries across

struck a bargain: in exchange for keeping Ethiopia territory, Yohannes IV was coming

their kingdoms, they were obliged to in rushing in fighting against the Mahadists

recognize the emperors overall power, and in order to protect the countrys sovereignty

to pay taxes to his state (Bahru Zewde, from their aggression and his dominant

2001). This is related to the conflict theorists power, but unfortunately he was

that individuals and groups that benefit from assassinated at the battle field of Metema,

any change occurs as a result of particular Gondar in 1888 (Pankhurst, 2001; Bahru
Zewde, 2001). The defeat of Yohannes IV

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by Mahadists at the battle field of Metema a subservient position in the form of

can be associated with the conflict taxation, labour exploitation, and alienation
perspectives notion that Individuals within from their products (Burton, 1990).
all groups and in any sphere of life compete
After the overthrowing of Lij Eyasu form
for power, and most individuals in some
his throne, Ethiopia was under straining
areas of their lives are likely to be relatively
between the intellectual group who was
powerful and in others relatively powerless
guided by Ras Teferi and the conservative
(Francis, 2004:4).
group headed by queen Zewditu form 1916
Emperor Menelik II came to the power after to 1930 (Tilahun, 1993; Pankhurst, 2001).
the death of Yohannes IV, and he was Such problem succession between the two
fending off the encroachment of European groups are able to communicate with the
powers such as Italy wanted to colonize Karl Marxs perspective that For Marx,
Ethiopia. Fortunately, Ethiopians defeated there are two essential components of a
Italy at the battle of Adwa in 1896, which society: first, the economic base or
remains famous today as the first victory of infrastructure (also called the substructure in
an African nation over a colonial power some texts), which provides the material
(Bahru, 2002). needs of

After the death of Minilik II by natural

disease, Lij Iyasu and his councilors pushed The essential components of the society in the world
through a few reforms, including improving can be categorized in to groups between the material
and the non-material world. The material world (the
the system of land tenure and taxation, but
economic base) comes first and determines the non-
they faced ever-deepening opposition from
material, because without it the non-material (the
the church and nobility (Tilahun, 1993). superstructure) would not be possible. The economic
This modern history has to relate with base is itself composed of the forces of production
conflict theorists that, who are interested in and the relations of production. The forces (or
means) of production include factories, machinery,
how societys institutions, especially for
raw materials and technology. The relations of
political institution may help to maintain the
production refer to how people relate to one another
privileges of some groups and keep others in at work, in particular to the relations that owners and

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employers have with those who work for them. The achieved high solidarity, they may have
superstructure is the non-material, but essentially it
organized for conflict, they can mobilize
reflects the economic base. For example, the
their conflict resources, they may be hostile
education system and the legal system protect and
support the basic values of the economic structure of toward their opponents, and they may have
society (Marsh and Keating, 2006:50). sufficient material resources (Bartos and
Wehr, 2002 :9).
Some scholars such as Strecker (1994) denied Ethiopians
By these facts, after five years that king
by themselves had not wined Italy at the battle field of
Adwa in 1896. He asserted, The grand strategy of the Haile Selassie seized up his power,
achievement of Ethiopian rulers and attributing all their nevertheless, the Italian forces cross the
successes to support from outside. And also, Ethiopia is
borders into Ethiopia in a two-pronged
not an independent state from the colonizers in history
because he believed that the southern regions of what is attack - from Eritrea in the north, from
called Ethiopia today were conquered and colonized by the Somalia in the east. This time, unlike at
Abyssinians in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Adwa forty years previously, the relatively
primitive Ethiopian weapons are no match
life, which have highly conservatives
for a modern European armed force. In their
intention; and second, the superstructure,
advance the Italians have the benefit of
basically the rest of society including the
tracked armoured vehicles, artillery, and
family, the education system, ideas and
fighter and bomber aircraft. To this
beliefs, the legal system, and the political
conventional arsenal they also add one of
system, which were run by the intellectuals
the horrors developed in World War I,
intention (Marsh and Keating, 2006). Of the
mustard gas (Pankhurst, 2001).These action,
last few centuries that have brought about
perhaps, related with the cause of conflict
global skewing of power: the domination of
from Italy was hostile to Ethiopia and Italy
a few nations over the others (Francis,
can mobilize their conflict resources over
2004), and they widely elaborated that there
Ethiopia (Bartos et al., 2002).
are six main reasons to occur colonialism or
After that, meantime getting independence
conflict behavior within the countries or the
Eritrea from Italy by the decision of UNO,
groups as well as the individuals: the parties
Emperor Haileselasie I incorporated Eritrea
may have (or believe that they have)
to Ethiopia in 1952; however, the
incompatible goals, they each may have
incorporation of Eritrea in the form of

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federation in 1952, degree of unanimity also widely described such uprisings on his
exists by now on the opposing side thought that the contradiction of the two or
(Mengistu, 2004). In 1960 Eritrea's Muslim more antagonistic groups produces the new
leaders, living in exile, form the ELF or system through revolution, but not
Eritrean Liberation Front to fight for evolution, which means the Thesis (the
independence. By the mid-1960s, they have oppressor class) makes collision with the
a guerrilla force operating in western Eritrea Anti-thesis (the oppressed class) result to
(Marcus, 1994). These situations can be Synthesis (socialism) (Marx, 1983). By this
shown on the perspective of conflict, which reality, the emperors power was abrogated
highly illustrated on power inequality may by the people of Ethiopias revolts and
involve domination: party A has power over revolution, and brought the newly emerged
and dominates party B. Such situations often socialist government (Bahru, 2002;
lead to a fight for liberation from Pankhurst, 2001).
oppression; power inequality exists when A After the emperor released his throne, the
does not dominate B, but has greater power Provisional Military Administration Council
potential than B does. This type of power (PMAC) or the Derg seized power to run for
inequality also can lead to conflict. This is 17 years alone. Nevertheless, the external
because power is often a zero-sum threats posed by Somalia and secessionist
commodity: if one party gains it, somebody Eritrea were increasing; Somalia invaded
else must lose it. Thus when the less Ethiopia in 1977 (Lapiso, 1999). And,
powerful party seeks to increase its power pandemonium, Strife, and/or furor occurred
potential, the more powerful party will resist throughout Ethiopia, particularly in the
these efforts (Bartos and Wehr, 2002:31). northern regions of Tigray and Eritrea
After a while, there were revolts in different because of the rampant of red and white
area of the country against the governance terror actions and oppression of the ethnic
system of the emperor, which was widely groups. Internal political debate also
occurred in Woyene rebellion in Tigray in degenerated into violence. In 1989, the
1943, Bale between 1963 and 70, Gojjam in Tigrayan People's Liberation front (TPLF)
1968, and the wildly student movement and merged with the Amhara and Oromo
participation (Gebru, 2001). Karl Marx liberation fronts (EPDM & OPDO) to form

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the Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary leads inevitably to the next. The importance
Democratic Front (EPRDF). In May 1991, of conflicts of production to Marxs
the EPRDF forces advanced on Addis historical analysis is demonstrated in his
Ababa forcing Mengistu to flee to account of the ways in which societies move
Zimbabwe (Henze, 2001). These imperious from one mode of production to another
disobediences can be interrelated with the (Marsh and Keating, 2006:51); therefore, the
Marxist idea that conflicts are generated by feudal modes of production had been
structurally based social cleavages, not actually sustained and continued for a long
simply subjective identities (Burawoy and period of time in Ethiopia history
Wright, 2001:451) (Takletsadek, 1974; Henze, 2001).
1.3. Symbolic Interactionism
The Somalia-Ethiopia conflict drew the Emperor in to close
alliance with Kenya which has experiences similar
difficulties with the Somalia (Dick, 1969:105).
While the functionalist and conflict
Marx observed inequality throughout the growing capitalist
society. The economics of capitalism, he felt, resulted in approaches were initiated in Europe,
social classes that were constantly in competition for interactionism developed first in the United
societys limited resources. Marx saw rich factory owners
States; George Herbert Mead (18631931)
who obtained their wealth from the labor of factory
workers who were paid little, often toiled long hours in is widely regarded as the founder of the
dangerous conditions, and frequently lived in crowded and interactionist perspective (Mead, 1962).
unhealthy spaces. Society, as Marx saw it, was an ongoing
Interactionism is a sociological framework
struggle between the classes: the haves (illustrated by the
factory owners) and the have nots (illustrated by the in which human beings are seen to be living
workers). The result was social conflict and change as those in a world of meaningful objects; these
without resources challenged those holding the resources
objects may include material things, actions,
for a piece of the proverbial pie (Marx, 1977a; Rakhi and
Licy, 2011) other people, relationships, and even
In general, according to Marx, throughout symbols (Herman, and Reynolds, 1994).
history societies have exhibited one of five
While the functionalist and conflict
modes of production, which, in
perspectives focused on the macro or larger
chronological order, are primitive
scale structure of society, the interactionist
communist, ancient, feudal, capitalist and
perspective has traditionally been more
communist. Each of these forms of society

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concerned with the micro or smaller-scale king of Axum had felt to label he had,
aspect of social life (Goffman, 1961). interactionists also assure their feelings on
their assumption that human beings are
distinctly always concerned to study the
As the writer of this article has tried to
ways in which people give meaning to their
describe the pre-Christianity time in
feelings, their actors, and to the wider social
Ethiopia above, the people of Ethiopia
world in which their lives exist (Marshall,
believed the war gods such as Aster, Beher,
1996: 524), and Symbolic interactionism also
and Mahrem, and Habas (moon god)
suggests that our identity or sense of self is
IImugah Nure, which came from South
shaped by social interaction. We develop
Arabia before the advent of Christianity to
our self-concept by observing how others
Axum (Tadesse et al., 2006:20). These
interact with us a label us. By observing
idolaters could give sacrifice for it in order
how others view us, we see a reflection
to keep the foreign attacks, natural disasters,
ourselves that Cooley calls the looking
and because it is the god of the king and so
glass self (Mooney, 2007:2).
on (Munro-Hay, 1991). By this
circumstance, the interactionists believed According to Tadesse and Girma (2006:8)
that religion is a social institution and focus and Munro-Hay (1991), Axum increased its
on the way in which various definitions and significance as center of local political unity
meanings have an impact on social by the exercises of military initiative and
interaction at the individual and small group partly perhaps by developing treaty
levels (Carpenter, 2012:5). relationship with its neighboring tribal

During the Axumite civilization, Axumite groups and their gradual absorption brighten

king was himself considered as the the prospect for expansion and political

embodiment of the state, a dynamic figure, ideological exchange with South Arabia,

son of a deity, the leader of his people, as Persia, India, Sri Lanka, and even Chinas

war hero and conqueror, but also a judge societies through Red Sea, and through its

and law giver, and the people of the king port of Adulis Axum participated actively.

and other world also accepted who he was So, such historical events can be associated

(Tadesse Delessa et al., 2006:18). What the to interactionism, which is a theoretical

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perspective that derives social processes was coinage. This is emphasized on the
such as conflict, cooperation, identity coinage where the image of the kings
formation from human interaction (Rakhi appears both the obverse and the reverse of
and Licy, 2011). the gold coins accompanied by his name and
During the Axumite period of time in the title king of the Axumites these
Ethiopia, amazing human-made cultural coinages showing some symbolic
materials were created. Material cultures representation of the state such as the disc
were one of the famous contributions of the and crescent in pre-Christian times in order
Axumite kingdom, these cultures shown to to represent deities of the sun and moon, or
the social structure and its boundaries across perhaps the royal tutelary deity Mahrem god
other societies, which were created by the (Munro-Hay, 1991). Of being occurred like
individuals. Pottery was made and used for this unbelievable invention to see how far
the fetching water and small village they are more civilized and developed state
decoration, metal work and well decorative for that world, symbolic interactionism
gold materials were mostly indicating to perspective also insists on the contribution
provide the kings praiseworthy action for for the world on the notion that the concrete
his state (Munro-Hay, 1991). As long as details of what goes on among individuals in
implemented such type of actions practically everyday life; they study how we use and
during the Axumite era, interactionist interpret symbols not only to communicate
explain for this occurrence strongly that with each other, but also to create and
there is no such thing as solidarity maintain impressions of ourselves, to create
individual; humans are always connected to a sense of self, and to create and sustain
others. The most basic unit of interaction what we experience as the reality of a
analysis is that of the self, which stresses the particular social situation (Rakhi and Licy,
ways in which people can come to view 2011).
themselves as objects, and assume the role After accepting Christianity in 4th A.D., the
of others through a process of the role taking symbol coinages were of the cross, and in
(Marshall, 1996: 524 ). fact incorporated the depiction of two ears
Another material cultures the one which was of wheat or barley framing the royal bust
invented during the Axumite civilization and grain stalks on the obverse and the

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reverse of the gold coins; its depiction on the Christian period formed one stone made
coins could have been intended to show the obelisks, which seemed like to the prick like
king as the provider and the sources of posture to show their supremacy, heroism,
bounty, and the grain stalks were actually a brave and courageous, and other believed
symbol of the Axumite state itself (Munro- that Axum Obelisks were formed for the
Hay, 1991). It evidently simplifies the purposes of incising golden coins. These
system in representing the medium of different concepts have been releasing in
exchange, the standard of value- different scholars about the Axum obelisk,
measurement, a means of holding wealth at so interactionists argue that we are able to
discretion, and a means of payment for interact with others because we create
services, all in one form (Lapiso Delebo, symbols and learn to interpret what those
1999). So far in coinage widely used up for symbols mean in our interactions (Stolley,
various purposes in different symbols at the 2005). Besides to this, interactionists
time of Axumite civilization, the perspective address the subjective meanings of human
of symbolic interactionism describes to acts and the process through which people
support such concept on the notion that come to develop and communicate shared
human beings act toward things on the basis meanings (Blumer, 1969)
of the meanings that things have for them; According to Michels (1986 cited by
these meanings arise from social interaction; Munro- Hay, 1991:39), he explained the
social action results from a fitting together reign of kings during the Axumite period is
of individual lines of action (Blumer, 1969). that:

Due to the fact that there are lesser Quite probably, the
significant empirical evidences in all about kingdom was a
the Axumite obelisks, different scholars confederacy, one which
have given different meanings about the was led by a district-level
Axumite obelisks. Some scholars such as king who commanded the
Hary Atekes (1991) stated that there was allegiance of other petty
one stone made obelisks in Axum for Sun kings within the Axum
and Moon worships, and others described realm. The ruler of the
that the kings of Axum during the pre-

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Axumite kingdom was thus sons and perhaps other relatives were
King of kings- a title frequently put in charge of campaign when
often found in inscriptions the king was occupied elsewhere (Tadesse
of this period. It is quite Delessa et al., 2006:21). Thence, the
possible that at the death of interactionists assure to be communicated
a King-of-Kings, a new one this history in Ethiopia on the issue that
would be selected from institutional orders and situations of
among all the kings in the interaction are more and more seen as being
confederacy, rather than constructed by the activities of different
through some principle of actors, groups and individuals in different
primogeniture. social areas and situations (Eisenstadt and
Helle, 1985).
This power substitution from the selection
among all kings in the confederacy had been During the Zagwe dynasty, Lalibela was a
carried out when the king of kings passed devout Christian emperor who contributed
away; hence, the symbolic interactionisms to the growth of Orthodox church by
perspective states for this event that social granting land to many prominent
world is a dynamic and dialectal web, monasteries and churches in northern
situations are always encounters with Ethiopia and particularly known for the
unstable outcomes, and lives and construction of eleven monolithic churches
biographies are always in the process of of rock hewn from solid rock (Pankhurset,
shifting and becoming, never fixed, not upon 1955). Hence, interactionists believe that
rigid structures, but upon streams of activity social reality, insofar as it is recognized to
with their adjustments and outcomes by the have any existence outside the
new comers (Marshall, 1996: 524). consciousness of any single individual, is
The military establishment was undoubtedly regarded as being little more than a network
one of the key institutions of the Axumite of assumptions and intersubjectively shared
monarchy which was set up by the king meanings (Burrell and Morgan, 2005)
himself, the king himself was commander-
in-chief of the army but royal brothers and 1.3.2. Medieval Period

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One of the famous contributions of the ceremonies. Abba Dula (the defence
medieval period of Ethiopia was the creature minister) was also the leading figure in the
of democratic relationship of the Gada Gada government. He was the leader of
System (Berhanu et al., 2007). This system gondola (army) and was elected by the
was closely connected with the social and people. The other official was the chief of
political structures since male Oromos were judge known as Abba Sera. The Gada laws
organized according to age and generation were passed by the assembly, the Gada
for both the social and political activities officials were elected for eight years by
(Lapiso, 1982). This happening during the universal male suffrage, and also the main
medieval period of Ethiopia can be related criteria for officials were know learn,
with focuses on patterns of individual honesty, bravely, demonstrated ability
interactions. Although macro sociologists (Berhane Lemma et al., 2007:341). These
working in this tradition recognize that Gada System figures and their roles can be
larger social structures exist and are built from that society and these larger
important in shaping our lives, they point social structures, especially political
out that society is actually created by people structure must be understood through
interacting together on a daily basis to studying social interactions that are based on
perform their social-economic and political shared understandings, languages, and
activities; it is these smaller interactions that symbols; a symbol is something that stands
actually make up the larger social structures: for, represents, or signifies something else in
social and political social structures (Stolley, a particular culture. Symbols can be
2005) anythinggestures, words, objects, or
The Gada System had their own structure, eventsand they can represent any number
the important officers was Abba Boku (the of others things, ideas, events, or emotions
father of the scepter was an elected (Stolley, 2005). Or, The interactionists look
chairman who presided over the assembly. beneath the symbols, processes, and
The principal function of Abba Boku is to interactions in order to determine the
preside over the parliament or tribal underlying patterns or forms of social life
assembly to proclaim the laws, to act when (Marshall, 1996: 524 ).
necessary as a virtual expert in the Gada 1.3.3. Modern Time

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After the ended up the era of princes, Tewodros II used force for Englishmen to
Tewodros II attempted to replace the produce modern cannon to Ethiopian but
regional armies of the princes with a they couldnt show their ambition to make
national arms, and also he introduced a new it, after a while he incarcerated them and
chain of command, with military titles like then the English commander, Napier came
Yasr Alaqa (commander of ten), Yamsa to Ethiopia to release their citizens from the
Alaqa (commander of fifty), and Yeshi detention with modern weapon, at last it was
Alaqa (commander of thousand) in order to a root cause for the king to make suicide at
order them easily; King Tewodros was also Meqdala (Tadesse Delessa, 2006). The
appointed different individuals in different situations in which the Englishmens
position like he appointed Dajjach kasa creative capacity on the modern armament
Subagadis in Tigre, Gajjach Liban Amade in in Ethiopia and the follow of conflict
Wallo, ras Mareyye in Begemeder and on between Napier and Tewodros II can be
and on (Pankhurst, 1955; Bahru Zewde, interlinked with one of the main founding
1991:33). Such hierarchical power father of sociology, Georg Simmel, that
distribution in Ethiopia can link with one of Simmel believed that people possess
the basic tenet of interactionism perspective creative capacities that enable them to
that institutional orders and situations of produce objective culture, which means the
interaction are more and more seen as being things that people produce that transcends
constructed by the activities of different them. But objective culture comes to stand
actors, groups and individuals in different in irreconcilable opposition to the creative
social areas and situations (Eisenstadt and forces that have produced it in the first place
Helle, 1985). based on the individual culture that the
King Tewodros II ambition to strengthen capacity of the individuals who produced the
and modernize his army is clearly reflected objective culture (Frisby, 2002).
in the manufacturing of modern Sebastopol After the altruistic suicide of Tewodros II,
armaments locally, at Gafat, an area nearly and after the defeated of king Teklegiorgis
Debretabor, Gondar. By his interest, of lasta at the battle field of Assam by
Tewodros succeeded in building up the first military supporting of Napier from England,
significant artery in Ethiopia history; Yohannes IV was faced under great

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difficulties: Egyptian and later Italian During king Hailsellasie I, there was the
expansion in the North, Mahadist (Sudan) promulgation of Ethiopias first and revised
incursion in the West, Meneliks constitution in 1931 and 1955 respectively
insubordination in the South for the aims of was a major step taken by the emperor in his
colonization as well as power interest, but direction, the main issue that the constitution
Yohannes IV made treaty with Italia, dealt with the regulation of the relationship
fighting with Mahadist to ban their focus between the monarchy and the nobility;
and intention to Ethiopia (Berhan Lemma et asserted the supremacy of imperial power
al.,, 2007). Of associate these emergence for it legalized the emperors absolute power
during the reign of Yohannes IV to the basic in appointments and dismissals; the
notion of symbolic interactionism is that rendering of justice, the declaration and the
human action and interaction are termination of wars; and the granting of land
understandable only through the exchange and honor (Tadesse Delessa et al.,
of meaningful communication or symbols. 2006:198). It shows that how individuals act
In this approach, humans are portrayed as within society (Rakhi and Licy, 2011).
acting as opposed to being acted upon
Though wars were fought mainly by men,
(Rakhi and Licy, 2011).
women played a significant role in the
Before Adawa battle field in the Menelik II
mobilization of troops, organization and
reign, the vanguard force of the Ethiopian
transportation of supplies and provisions;
army, led by Fitawerari Gebeyehu, attacked
raising the morale of fighters; gathering
and defeated the Italian at the battle field of
intelligence information, nursing the
Amba Alage, the Italian lost more than 2000
wounded, and in the actual fighting. Women
soldiers in dead including their commander,
that did not go to battlefields had to carry
Toselli (Tadesse Delessa, 2006:157). These
the burden of mens work at the home front
warrior experiences could be traced back
(Menale Adugna, 2013). Such irreplaceable
from the daily and the routine exercises and
actions which were done by the women
interaction of well experienced individuals
during the Adwa battle field, the Ethio-Italy
(Scheafer, 20050.
1935-41 war and others wars can be
associated to the Max Webers notion that

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the major sphere of society (political, medieval and modern period. These sources
economy, religious) are equally dominant in of conflict in those histories were the
all society, it is the status and party presences of politico-religious scene. By
affiliations (Nahom Eyasu, 2016). covering the systems of religious, different

Conclusion political agendas were carried out; as, Marx

said religious is the opiate of the masses on
Different disciplines might be describing his conflict theory. And also, symbolical
about the social realities based on their own interactionism perspectives had been
subject matter and/or focusing area, occurred during the ancient, medieval, and
sociology and history are social sciences that modern time too.
mostly explaining, describing and exploring
the happened social phenomena. So, these
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