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Ethnofabulation: Introducing a new terminology for the new ‘gentleness’ or mode of reasoning in the face of ongoing ethnopolitical dynamics


Tibebu Taye

In the face of ongoing ethnopolitical dynamics, our mode of reasoning is constantly evolving, or regressing towards our mere virtual instincts. This evolution of reason is driven by, among other factors, our conditions of affective disorganization, where emotions such as grief, anger, fear and resentment play a significant role, and where manoeuvring these elements have become a vital aspect our political life. It is further influenced by external factors such as precarious socio-political conditions, religion and racio-ethnic biases, to name a few. 

In what I call ‘Ethnofabulation’, I introduce a new a terminology for the new ‘gentleness’ or knowledge production that demonstrates how our mode of reasoning is sliding towards emotions and cultural biases amidst the current ethnopolitical dynamics in the country. 

Ethnofabulation (ብሔረትርክ) is a mode of reasoning where individuals or an ethnic group confabulate about an imagined nation or ethnic group that are conceived to have been inflicting extreme cruelty (attacks, massacre, or repressions) on the fabulator’s fellowmen in the past. Ethnofabulation takes two forms, i.e., provoked and spontaneous. In the former, an individual or an ethnic group deliberately tell prearranged and fabricated stories, even in the face of contradicting evidence, to incite resentment and a collective impulse to disparage, shame, or even defend prevailing sociopolitical attitudes or actions. In the worst-case scenarios, these types of confabulations can lead to ‘xenophobia’. On the other hand, the later and less frequent forms of ethnofabulations are usually recounted without any conscious or intentional desire, could possibly be either the result of misinformation or being duped by the first type of confabulation. 

Ethnofabulea is the row story that is fabricated to reflect the cultural beliefs, values, and experiences of a specific individual or ethnic or cultural group. Once it is fabricated and prearranged, it will take the form of personal stories or group narrations. We can also consider Ethnofabulea as a means for political mobilisation, transmitting cultural knowledge, as well as shaping collective identity through storytelling.

Ethnofabulator is the person or group responsible for creating and sharing ethnofabulea. Ethnofabulators today have the characteristics of Sophists like those in the ancient Rome or have the traits of a demagogue leaders who are adept at storytelling, possessing a deep understanding of the cultural nuances and traditions of the group they belong to or lead, and are skilled in manipulating illusive stories and associated emotions through their sophistry.  

Editor’s note : Views in the article do not necessarily reflect the views of


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  1. You are on to something useful to help us sort out present and enduring follies and foibles we refuse to own up. It is a good thing you will be touching upon our pre-digital histories/religious fables and hopefully, importantly, modern education systems. Good luck.


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