Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department or Program

Political Science


Shulman, Stephen C


This paper presents a new way to understand the occurrence of ethnic discrimination within Ethiopia. I argue that during the time studied, 1950-1992, the more culturally similar five lesser ethnic groups were with a dominant ethnic group’s culture the less amount of political discrimination they faced from this dominant ethnic group. Using Minorities at Risk data in addition to a cultural similarity scale I have created I argue that ethnic discrimination levels within Ethiopia fluctuated over time due to the level of shared cultural traits a certain group had at any given point with the dominant Amharan ethnic group culture. Ultimately I am able to show that Amharan culture acted “behind the scenes” as a dominate force within the Ethiopian state and such an observation can be used by scholars moving forward to better understand why certain ethnic groups are discriminated against more so than others within Ethiopia.