Ethnic Diversity and Federalism: Constitution Making in South Africa and Ethiopia, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Ethnic Diversity and Federalism

Constitution Making in South Africa and Ethiopia, 1st Edition

By Yonatan Tesfaye Fessha


310 pages

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Paperback: 9781138260689
pub: 2016-11-23
Hardback: 9781409403104
pub: 2011-01-28
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pub: 2016-05-23
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How federalism can be used to provide recognition and accommodate ethnic groups is an important topic, not only in Africa, but in multi-ethnic communities around the world. Examining how institutions of multi-ethnic states have been designed to accommodate ethnic diversity while at the same time maintaining national unity, this book locates institutional responses to the challenges of ethnic diversity within the context of a federal arrangement. It examines how a federal arrangement has been used to reconcile the conflicting pressures of the demand for the recognition of distinctive identities, on the one hand, and the promotion of political and territorial integrity, on the other. Comparative case studies of South Africa and Ethiopia as the two federal systems provide a contrasting approach to issues of ethnic diversity. Suggesting new ways in which federalism might work, the author identifies key institutions lessons which will help to build an all-inclusive society.


'This is an invaluable contribution to federalism literature for scholars and practitioners in existing and emerging federal states. It provides concrete lessons and approaches for multi-ethnic states to balance diversity and national unity. These lessons will have impact beyond the case studies in this book, now and in the future.' Robert F. Williams, Rutgers University School of Law, USA 'The increasingly burning question in law and politics in our globalized world of how to deal with multi-culturally composed populations, is addressed in this comparative study of two topical African examples where nation-building remains an unattainable ideal. The histories of both teach us how urgent innovative constitutional thinking has become.' Francois Venter, North-West University, South Africa 'This book will be of great interest to scholars, students and policy makers interested in which constitutional and institutional devices states can adopt in order to respond successfully to the claims formulated by its diverse ethnic groups… The book is well structured, using a clear and relevant framework to perform the case studies of South Africa and Ethiopia.' Afrika focus

About the Author

Dr. Fessha is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of the Western Cape, South Africa. He has published widely on matters pertaining to but not limited to federalism, autonomy, politicised ethnicity, local government, constitutional interpretation and judicial review.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General
LAW / Comparative