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State Stretch: Intrastate identities and the promotion of interstate integration

Ssekajja, Godfreyb (2016) State Stretch: Intrastate identities and the promotion of interstate integration. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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In attempting to explicate why leaders of sovereign states promote inter-state integration (ISI), most literature emphasizes the economic benefits involved. But economic explanations are sometimes insufficient because regional unions not only involve economic losses; they are also eminently political constructs. Where political motivations are identified, the focus is on the distribution of power and the relative gains among states. Thus, these power theories cannot explicate why leaders of states that incur relative losses, and those that are less powerful, would promote ISI. In much of this literature, domestic conflict is largely ignored despite its usefulness in understanding the factors that shape policy preferences. Even in the analyses that point to domestic political processes, the focus is on economic and geopolitical interests. Therefore, certain crucial intrastate tensions that impact government decision-making are usually not identified. This thesis identifies one such tension – ethnic sub-nationalism – and attempts to establish its relationship to the promotion of ISI in Africa.

Realizing the threat posed to state sovereignty when ethnicity is expressed in the form of sub-nationalism, I demonstrate how a threatened state’s leadership is more likely to promote ISI. My argument is that the need to discourage and replace a threatening subnational identity with a supranational identity causes the leadership to promote ISI. This allusion to the construction of social identities implies that the causal process is best contextualized within the constructivist theory. For evidence, I focus on Uganda and link Buganda’s ethnic identity to Museveni’s promotion of ISI in East Africa through congruence & content analyses of his speeches. By presenting Uganda’s ISI policy as an externalization of the country’s internal weaknesses, my research underscores the importance of examining threats to a state’s sovereignty from within in order to comprehend why that sovereignty is diminished from without. More crucially, I attempt to establish a causal link between the intrastate ethnic identities that threaten many African states and ISI promotion by the leaders of those states. However, my findings are largely exploratory and thus should be approached cautiously: they only provide an entrée into a subject that, I hope, will be subsequently studied more profoundly.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Ssekajja, Godfreybgos12@pitt.eduGOS12
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSeybolt, Taylorseybolt@pitt.eduSEYBOLT
Committee MemberPicard, Louispicard@pitt.eduPICARD
Committee MemberNelson, Paulpjnelson@pitt.eduPJNELSON
Date: 27 June 2016
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 12 April 2016
Approval Date: 27 June 2016
Submission Date: 14 April 2016
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 45
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public and International Affairs > Public and International Affairs
Degree: MID - Master of International Development
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Inter State Integration (ISI), Pan-African identity, Ethnic identity,
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2016 14:57
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:32


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