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Salient Components ofItiopiawinnet: Meaning‑Making
andSense ofNational Identity amongStudents inWashera
Accepted: 21 October 2022
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V. 2022
Based on ﬁeldwork in Washera Qenie School, this article explores Ethiopian
national identity from Qenie students’ viewpoint. Given a distinct line of knowledge
system they come across, Qenie students viewed Ethiopia and Itiopiawinnet diﬀer-
ently. Individual and group interviews with 66 Qenie students (12 to 18years old)
uncovered traits that the children identiﬁed as signiﬁcant markers of Itiopiawinnet.
These were presented under three key psychological dimensions as cognitive, emo-
tional, and behavioral manifestations of national identity. By illuminating salient
aspects of Ethiopian identity, this study contributes to the literature on Ethiopian
national identity and for policymakers as a stepping board for further reconstruction
or reframing of a multifaceted Ethiopian identity.
Keywords Children· EOTC education· Itiopiawinnet· National identity· Qenie
It is commonly acknowledged that individuals’ sense of national identity lays its
foundation during childhood (Scourﬁeld etal., 2006). In the past half a century or
so, quite a number of researchers built a groundwork to comprehend national iden-
tity and how it takes root in childhood. Piaget and Weil (1951) viewed children’s
national identiﬁcation vis-à-vis their respective stages of cognitive development.
Similarly, other scholars (e.g., Barrett, 2000; Barrett et al., 2003; Nesdale, 2004)
examined the age children begin identifying themselves with the nation. The ﬁnd-
ings revealed that it was at six or seven years of age that children begin categoriz-
ing themselves as members of the national group. At this early age, however, more
than national identity their gender, age, and local city identities are typically impor-
tant to children. The importance of national identity then increases during middle
* Taglo Kassa
1 School ofPsychology, Addis Ababa University, 31772AddisAbaba, Ethiopia
Child Indicators Research (2023) 16:777
/ Published online: 8 November 2022