African Journal of
History and Culture

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Hist. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6672
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJHC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 187

Full Length Research Paper

Global networking and the fate of family in Ethiopia

Belayneh Girma
  • Belayneh Girma
  • Dilla University, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 11 May 2017
  •  Accepted: 06 June 2017
  •  Published: 28 February 2018


Globalization is largely the gift of networking. In global networking, Information Technology is the leading actor which plays a role of catalyst. The process of globalization is intensifying as different parts of the world are increasingly linked with one another as a result of this global networking. This article claims that while global networking has brought the people of the world, who are spatially far away closer, it however drew those who have been geographically nearer very far apart. Discussing comparatively the nature of social cohesion in Ethiopia before and after an intensive application of global networking tools in the country, an attempt has been made to coagulate the claim that global networking is indeed disintegrating family in Ethiopia. Major assertions made in this article are inferences from the data collected through interviews and discussions held with teachers and students of three universities of the country i.e. Gondar, Dilla and Bahir Dar Universities. Families, online friends, media persons are also consulted. Moreover, personal observation and other studies also make an integral part of the study.

Key words: Globalization, social media, Ethiopian family, social cohesion, integration.


The term Globalization and claims associated with it are argumentative since the days of its inception (Maguire, 2002; Mark, 2000). The term is widely used to describe the current state of affairs of worldwide relation in economic, political, cultural, and technological terms among others. The increasing flow of capital and other resources across national borders is taken as an illustration of global economic integration (Proedrou and Frangonikolopoulos, 2010). The growing people-to-people relation as opposed to state-to-state relation and the rising power of transnational corporations which appeared to be a challenge to the sovereignty of states is argued to have shown how political integration has changed its traditional trend and intensified global integration (Suter, 2003). Socially, the flow of cultural practices across the globe which is said to have resulted in the sharing of customs and practices by the people of the world is also claimed to have manifested the increasing integration and interconnection of human kind across the globe. Moreover, the sharing of the latest technology development throughout the world swiftly has greatly enhanced this claim of global integration. No matter how disputable globalization might be, there is no doubt that worldwide integration in numerous aspect of human life has promptly intensified.
As a result it has come almost impossible to define globalization devoid of an escalating level of integration.This swift process of worldwide integration has made people of the world to know each other closely and communicate easily. It has made the significance of spatial and distance barriers nearly negligible. However, the other face of this integration hides an interesting problem that is, disintegration. This is a complete paradox. While globalization is said to have integrated the world, it is also in its underground mission disintegrating the formerly integrated one. This study is conducted to reveal how the seemingly hard taken claim that global networking plays a disintegrating role is apparent in the case of Ethiopia. Ethiopia, though is at the top rank of less developed nation in the world, is important nation in Africa for numerous reason. Firstly, it is taken as a symbol of liberty for black people in general and African people in particular. It was the only nation which survived from the scramble for Africa of European mission (Adejumobi, 2007; Metaferia, 2009; Mohr, 2001; Paulos, 2011; Prochazka, 1935; Sundaram, 2014).
In the course of history, Ethiopians were devoted to sacrifice their life for their unity and dignity. The country Ethiopia is hard to understand where enough emphasis is not given to the commitment paid by its people to keep the nations identity at the utmost priority. It has been acknowledged that unity to fight for independent Ethiopia marked the identity of the nation (Adejumobi, 2007). Ethiopia is a nation that showed to the world how unity and patriotism are more important than modern artilleries and weapons to defend the sovereignty of a nation in its fight against the colonial power, Italy. As a result, Ethiopia until very recently managed to keep its thousands of years pride and dignity. This sense of national and cultural pride was apparent practically by unprecedented collaboration and unity of the peoples of the nation during Italian invasion in the last decade of 19th century. The confidence and pride of Ethiopians with their culture was known even to ancient and medival Greek Roman authors like Herodotus, Diodorus Si-culus and Homer.
According to some ancient literature, Ethiopia has been described as “ a region of marvelous peoples, and of incredible customs” (Bulletin Museum of Fine Arts, 1918, p. 67). Significanct number of historians argue that the country labeled as Ethiopia was vast enough to say that it is today’s Ethiopia proper. Undeniably the Ethiopia mentioned in classical literature was indeed very broad and may include some other states beyond the present Ethiopia (Rogers, 1936). However, the neclues or the core of the land lies in today’s Ethiopia. So, it is only tiny exagration to attribute what classical writers asserted about Ethiopia to the present day Ethiopia. Spiritually, it is a country which is mentioned more than forty times in the bible and according to Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church History, accepted Christianity very early than any nation other than Israel in the world as writers like Rogers (1936) and Lee (2011) confirmed.In addition, the distinct ceremonies and festivals are the other spiritual flavors given recognition by United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Its classical religious rituals make up some of the most praised intangible assets of the world. It is a nation with unique history and rich culture in Africa which is able to manage to withstand foreign incursion on its ancient civilization (Tibebu, 1996).
The architecture of its ancient civilizations is unique in the world. The obelisk of Aksum which was erected in the 5th century was one of its ancient civilizations. The architectural knowledge and skill utilized to get this obelisk built was very strange let alone to that time even to today’s Ethiopia. Among the many architectural assets that melted the heart of Italy in its occupation of Ethiopia in the 1935, the obelisk of Aksum was worth mentioning. It was evidently the incredible architectural engineering and historical importance that lead Italy to ship the 1700 years old, 150 tones weighty and 24 meter high obelisk in 1937 (Šopova, 2008). The designs carved on the obelisk are unique and mysteries to the world (Mohr, 2001). The Ark of the Covenant which was the centre of worship in Judaism is believed to have been kept secretly in Aksum (Adejumobi, 2007). The rock-hewn Lalibela Churches were one of the great architectural assets and cultural heritages registered in UNESCO. The eleven rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are admired as one of the most enthralling tourist site in the world (Gathanju, 2015; Šopova, 2008; Sundaram, 2014).The blessing of the country by cultural heritages is manifest in the identification of about 40,000 heritages and out of which ten are registered in UNESCO’s list of World Heritages (Ellene et al., 2003). Ethiopia is full of both tangible and intangible cultural and spiritual heritages (Gnisci, 2012; Karbo, 2013). Currently Ethiopia has got 12 heritages registered in UNESCO.
Tangible heritages include sacred books, worshiping materials and buildings among others whereas the intangible heritages include spiritual and cultural festivals, thoughts and philosophies (Paulos, 2011). Moreover, “It has an old culture and tradition and is a home for the remains of the oldest black civilization” (Alemayehu, 2001).The other expression of Ethiopian’s identity lies in their artistic clasical painting. Painting which is made on parchment, wood and canvas is the other old tradition through which Ethiopians expressed their identity (Rogers, 1936). Since the introduction of Christianity to the country, painting has become one way of manifesting a belief. Numerous painting that one may find in all Churches and monasteries were not only figurative expressions of biblical stories but also the nation’s identity. It is through an attempt to make holy images fit so well into the color and identity of Ethiopians that the people of the country showed their self love and confidence. Nevertheless, the country’s identity which has had such a deep rooted historical existence is now facing a danger of disintegration. This study is aimed at properly portraying how family, which is the base of the country’s historical integration, is now being challenged by the expansion of global networking.



The methodology employed in this study is decidedly qualitative. Personal observation, discussion, interview and review of related literature were the chief methods of data collection. The aspiration to conduct this study sprung from the bosom of personal observation. An in-depth interview was conducted with an assistant professor and five university lecturers who are from three different universities that is, Dilla, Gondar and Bahir Dar Universities. Those universities were selected by probability sampling method. Probability sampling was used to avoid bias in extracting data. The interviewees teach courses that have to do with globalization, morality and culture under department of Civics and Ethical Studies. Thus, relevantly close in their specialization to the issues of globalization. It is based on this merit that they were purposely selected as the respondents’ of the study. In order to identify student discussants purposive sampling was preferred because of two reasons. First, student population in all public universities shares the same attribute because of the system of placement applied by ministry of education. Student from every corner of the country are distributed to all public universities. So, a student population across universities is almost similar.
Second, the homogeneity of the student population across universities provided equal level of representativeness. However, selecting students of Dilla University in which I teach has got an additional advantage that is, cost effectiveness. Thus, the study reasonably employed convenient sampling to identify discussant students. The discussion was held among 120 students. For the simplicity of the discussion students were stratified based on their academic performance. 15 better performers were trained to facilitate the discussion and report the results of their discussion. In addition, for there is a need to include people outside universities, family and the youth that is not part of the university community were included. 27 families who have their sons and daughters in various public universities were conveniently selected for discussion. The reason to select these families by convenient sampling method has to do with their accessibility to me for open discussion. The voice of parents as it is heard through different public and private Medias was also given due concern to include the views of the families that are not accessible to me due to spatial and financial constraints.
Discussion was also held with 23 non-university youths. The choice of these non-university youths was made using accidental selection method. At this juncture, it would be essential to note that, it is a common culture for Ethiopians to hold discussion with fellow citizens wherever they meet. Especially, when long journeys are made by bus or when people meet in some places where they have to stay long, it is very customary to pick a hot point of discussion so that the journey or their stay would not be boring. Though this social value has recently come to be replaced by online face book chatting, long journeys that penetrate through a number of villages which are not yet covered by internet networks still provide the opportunity for extended discussions. The non-university youth which constitute the subject of this study are accessed using this opportunity. Furthermore, 50 online friends, who have different background, also provided another supplement to the sum of the primary data collected. Finally, to provide a good conceptual framework for the study, other studies and related literature were critically reviewed.


The danger of disintegration
Ethiopia, a nation which is known for thousands of year’s history of unity despite some discrete political fragmentation in the early 16th, late 18th and early 19th centuries is now on the verge of disintegration. Though the ethnic federalism established in the early 1990’s is held responsible for the current danger of political disintegration (Alemayehu, 2001; Karbo, 2013; Sarbo, 2009; Vaughan, 2004), the disintegration which is the concern of this study is not that sort. It is obvious that the political crumbling in the history of Ethiopia also undermined the cultural values of the country. Particularly, the early 19th century political disintegration has adversely affected the classical values of the nation (Adejumobi, 2007). The traditional value disheartenments in this and other similar political turmoil’s period were short lived. When the politics was reunited the values were also repaired. Nonetheless, the disintegration that is of interest to this article is hardly political. The disintegration witnessed on social cohesion in general and the family in particular is the prior concern of this article. Despite some other factors, I will attribute this disintegration to the global networking. To learn how family is disintegrated in the country as a result of globalization, it is imperative to assess the history and the current state of Ethiopian foreign relation, define globalization in a bit detail and take a look at how family was organized in Ethiopia initially.
A brief history of Ethiopian foreign relations
 Ethiopia has had external relation since antiquity. It had a very old relation with the Far East, the Middle East and Europe. Especially its relation with Egypt is mentioned as one of the oldest in the international political history (Erlich, 1998; Paulos, 2011). The relation between the two countries was based largely on religion and hydro-politics. Religiously, Egypt has assumed leadership of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church for nearly one and half millennia. Bishops and patriarchs were appointed for the Church since 4th century until 1920’s when Ethiopia got her Ethiopian   bishop ordained for the first time. Yet it was only in the 1959 that Ethiopia was able to get her first Ethiopian patriarch appointed (Markos, 1993). For about fifteen centuries and now, Egyptians claim that Ethiopia shall not independently appoint its own patriarch.Considering Ethiopia as diocese until late 1950’s, they preserved the responsibility of administration of the Church to themselves (Erlich, 1998; Getnet, 1998; Markos, 1993). But the very puzzle to scholars who studied the Church is that even though the Church was administered by Egyptians, it was very little influenced by their culture. Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church accepted the bible in its own language; Ge’ez. The translation of holy literature to Ge’ez was made from ancient language: Hebrew, Greek, and Syriac (Getnet, 1998; Roudometof, 2014). The liturgy and all other religious rituals were done in local language.
The history of other similar orthodox church’s reveals that the influence of Slavonic as liturgy language and the development of Cyrillic alphabet were significant (Roudometof, 2014). In addition, even the translation made on many religious manuscripts customized to fit well into the history and culture of the country. A high degree of customization made the church unique in its orientation and practices (Getnet, 1998). Not only the contents but even when the names that appear on different inscriptions appear to be strange to the nation, they used to localize the naming. This was not only evident on religious manuscripts but also on other non-religious writings. Ethiopians were voracious enough to collect and study notable works across the world. For instance the works of Greek philosophers were translated and studied thousands of years ago. The name of those philosophers was yet customized to suit into local language. Accordingly, Aristotle was labeled “Aristatalis” and Plato “Aflaton” (Hiwote, 2016).These are illustrations of Ethiopians determination to keep their identity. They were not completely closed to the civilization of the rest of the world but they were wise enough to bring everything they come across to domestic interpretation and context. Interpretation bound to the countries context has become one of a distinctive feature of the country, Ethiopia (Rogers, 1936).
Defining globalization
Defining globalization as the interconnectivities of the people of the world in numerous aspects of life is not as simple as it appears at first sight. It is one of the contested issues of the 21st century (Maguire, 2002). According to some authors (Bharadwaj, 2003; Coleman and Brydon, 2009), it is not only controversial but a much misused term. It has become almost a custom to praise and make scapegoat of everything to globalization. Although much has been said and much has been written about it, Globalization is still shrouded in mystery (Bharadwaj, 2003). A proper conception of globalization requires an elucidation of the different dimensions involved in it. Its comprehensiveness has embraced the economical, political, Ethical/cultural/social, technological aspect of human life. Though a large numbers of literature emphasize on the economic aspect of globalization, the controversy about what globalization in clear terms is hitherto persist.From the economic perspective globalization is defined as an increasing commercial integration, capital and other resources flow across borders. The political side of globalization perceives globalization as the process introducing new actors other than the pre-dominant state in the sphere of power. It is viewed as the development of sharing and even shifting power from state to other international actors like, Non Governmental Organizations (NGO’s), Transnational Corporations (TNC’s), and Intergovernmental organizations (IGO’s) (Suter, 2003).
Globalization viewed from social perspective is determining a way of life and speeding up the rate of social dynamism. Coleman and Brydon declare that: “Over the past several decades, processes now termed globalization have been restructuring the way many people live and how they relate to others. They are reducing many limits on social interaction once imposed by time and place.” (2009, p. 325). The cultural aspect of globalization is the most relevant aspect of globalization to discuss it here in a bit detail. Cultural globalization is perhaps the most contested aspect of globalization. It is not unusual to come across very polarized arguments in ones review of literature in this area. The conclusions drawn about cultural globalization by different authors alarmed different scholars to take heed from rushing into hasty generalization. The Punic felt by authors about the risk involved in the process of rushing into some bold conclusions on cultural globalization compelled them to warn that we be careful with the term cultural globalization (Feng, 2002). According to Sovacool (2010), cultural globalization is that aspect of globalization which involves the extensive expansion of language, values, products and norms due to an increasing contact of people across borders. Liu and Yan mention that “Globalization accelerates cultures’ interactions and facilitates transmission of values from one group to another” (2015, p. 632).
For other authors however cultural globalization is manifested through homogenization. Some cultures across the globe are spreading rampantly to cover and dominate other cultures. Specifically, western culture is emerging triumphant over non-western cultures. Western culture made use of the media and communication facilities to encroach upon other cultures in the world. In line with this view, Yan and Liu (2015) insisted that the worldwide use of English language and the virtually omnipotence of McDonald’s and Hollywood movies among others is a clear manifestation of cultural homogenization. Li Shenzhi (1994) arguing from Chinese perspective asserted not only that globalization in its move towards homogenization has severely affected Chinese ethics and culture and put china in a state of coercion to promote the worth of foreign culture but cultural self-awareness is also recently perking up in China. Quite different from the view that cultural globalization is cultural colonization and hegemony Hao (2008) viewed cultural globalization as the natural tendency for the cultural development of the contemporary. Accordingly, it is not legitimate to term the cultural aspect of globalization as cultural homogenization or cultural imperialism. It has to be understood as state of inevitable gradual cultural development.
How was family in Ethiopia organized?
In Africa families are more important than individuals. According to Swigart (2001), it is the family that builds African society. Ethiopia is no exception in this respect. It is a matter of fact that Family in Ethiopia is the base of the country. The respect and courtesy children show to their parents and grandparents is the fundamental of morality to the people of Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, extended families along with the community raises morally nurtured children (Mohr, 2001). In the context of this article, extended family refers to people of the same household tied through blood leaving together or at least closer with each member exhibiting a significant level of interaction and solidarity. The definition given to extended family as those which are related through blood or kinship but whose members may – and often do – live apart (Swigart, 2001) is less descriptive of Ethiopian kind family. In Ethiopia, the members of a family usually used to include grandparents, parents and children leaving in the same fence sharing resources and demonstrating great care for one another. As Reminick (2009) explained, Ethiopian family is characterized by three generation living together with care and deep concern for one another. Mohr (2001) also goes on to explain that Ethiopians are pleased to have vast families for they believe that children are gifts of God and hence essential assets that one could ever have in his/her entire life.
Ethiopia has had external relation since antiquity. It had a very old relation with the Far East, the Middle East and Europe. Especially its relation with Egypt is mentioned as one of the oldest in the international political history (Erlich, 1998; Paulos, 2011). The relation between the two countries was based largely on religion and hydro-politics. Religiously, Egypt has assumed leadership of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church for nearly one and half millennia. Bishops and patriarchs were appointed for the Church since 4th century until 1920’s when Ethiopia got her Ethiopian bishop ordained for the first time. Yet it was only in the 1959 that Ethiopia was able to get her first Ethiopian patriarch appointed (Markos, 1993). For about fifteen centuries and now, Egyptians claim that Ethiopia shall not independently appoint its own patriarch. As Markos (1993) recorded, Emperor Haile Selassie used to do the same. The other sections of the society especially the youths and the adults show their solidarity by carrying some distance the body of the dead person to its burial. Even some others, particularly mothers may weep even though they may not know the dead person physically. To facilitate and maintain these and other similar social values, there are different socially organized associations (Poluha, 2004). But the role of these associations in keeping social values and customs is recently wearing away.
In Ethiopia, parents and grandparents were paid respect because they were considered to be sources of life, knowledge, and identity. Knowledge and history has been transmitted from generation to generation largely through oral tradition. Grandparents take the lion share in getting their culture preserved. According to Reminick (2009), not only children are considered as essential graces but Grandparents are also worth valued for they are the mentor and tutor of the new generation. History, religion and custom of the nation are passed to the next generation orally from their forefathers. The task of getting Children grown up with this cultural frame was not left for parents and grandparents alone but the community as a whole used to engage in deeply. As already noted, the structure of social composition in Ethiopia is a kind of extended in nature. In this extended family structure, the responsibility of couching children with moral values was the responsibility of everyone. In early times each member of the society was seriously concerned about how individuals behave. Strong commitment was there to get moral values respected. Such a social responsibility
has now eroded largely. The members of the society feeling powerless at home at their family level gave up desperately their social responsibilities. The helplessness seen among the members of the society could be attributed to the belief of inevitability of the impacts of globalization forces pervading the public.
The extended nature of Ethiopian society is evident on dining table. Ethiopian people do not like to eat alone. Each member of the family is demanded to get himself on the dining table. Until all members of the family are collected on the dining table no member of the family eats. It is a praised norm to wait one another for dining. The dining table called “gebeta” in Amharic is not only used to serve food but it is a table where people get all together with a sense of affiliation. Ethiopian people do not eat from a different plate. They eat all together from one wide plate. Not only each member of the family eats by hand from the same plate but also feed one another in turn. To feed one another is taken as a sign of love and affection. Though it is common to feed anyone around the dining table, it is more common to feed the beloved ones. As a result of this value, it is culturally a taboo to eat alone from a different plate. To eat from a different plate is taken as secession from the rest of the family member. It is a means by which the unity of the family is kept. This cultural bond is not confined at family level even when someone arrive a place where others are eating; be it a friend, a colleague or a stranger it is a norm to invite him/her to take part on the dining. It is a means how they facilitate their interconnections with one another.
However, such a culture of harmony within a family is now challenged strongly. The shift towards nuclear family is growing swiftly. Especially among urban dwellers to have extended family is hard to imagine. Most children, children who used to be obedient to their grandparents, parents and elders are no more showing respect to their family. Families are complaining that their children are tied strongly with their cell phones and they are too busy on social Medias to get time to listen to them. Most of their communication is with online friends. Unless children are asleep they are on line on social Medias. They are online even in their learning rooms chatting with persons far and far away. As a result on could claim that today family is missing its integration. The mode of dining is completely changed especially in urban Ethiopia. Almost all family members eat alone from a separate plate. Children are chatting overseas while dining, ignoring their family who need them to share their value at home. They are missing those who are far away while disregarding those who are at their affinity. Those who attempt to preserve these long lasted customs are considered uncivilized and resistant to modernity. They are blamed for their poor education and rigidity.
However, this is a proved wrong perception about modernity. Needless to mention that modernization does not mean abandoning everything from history. Those who got lost in face book think that spending a number of hours on social media and imitating what is lived everywhere in the world is a sign of modernization. Those who show serious concern about culture and identity are considered by most university students of the country as uncivilized and backward. Be all the opportunity as it has been, Global networking, especially social media is becoming a serious problem among Ethiopian youths. An Ethiopian scientist working in NASA, on a famous technology show known as “Tech-Talk” hosted by Solomon, broadcasted on 26th of November 2016 through Ethiopian Broadcasting Service (EBS) has witnessed that families are in a challenge due to un-optimized usage of social Medias. He added up that it has become hard to detach children from their cell phone even when they are on the dining table. While thousands of miles distance is made irrelevant by the availability of internet service, the same distance is actually created between children and their parents.  Children are sharing their feelings and thoughts not with parents. They have got some other people to share with. The distance barrier between them and people oversea are shrunk by the global networking. Different internet applications enabled them share their views with other people at lengthy distance. Different social Medias like face book, whatsup, imo, tango, messenger, and etcetera besides their positive values made people nearby almost irrelevant.
These social Medias and internet applications took much of the day’s hour. The time remained from these medias is spent on watching movies of different country. Indian movies have captured much of the attention of the youth recently. Being aware of Ethiopians openness to foreign culture some wise men have opened television channels through which these movies are broadcasted. It has become a matter of necessity to spend some significant hours of the day on these movies. Parents are almost ignored. Deep passion and addiction to these movies disintegrated significant number of families. The long established respect and obedience of children has now nearly disappeared. Ones they sit to see these movies they are listening to no one. As a result of disagreement created families are physically disintegrating.  Apart from being busy and occupied by social media to the extent of ignoring family, one could also witness a rapid shift from communal social organization to individualism. The other distinctive feature of Ethiopian society has been its communal integration. This sort of social cohesion largely promoted altruism and collective life. As a result of global networking such invaluable social values are systematically demeaned and belittled. Family which used to be the school of culture and morality is now stripped of its power of shaping, coaching and nurturing children. The social Medias, the television channels, radio stations and local magazines one way or the other are all flinging stone at the long-lasted morality of the country in the name of modernity and urbanization. The communication which used to be held between family members is now completely replaced by overseas peoples.
Who are at overseas?
According to data collected from university students and social media users, their online friends though are at overseas they are mostly Ethiopians. Ethiopians scattered over the world are sharing what they see in the country they live in. They are shaping, molding and even corrupting the mind of the youth in the country according to the way of life they claim to have experienced. As a result of increasing human resource mobility, millions of Ethiopians are now living abroad (National Academy of Sciences, 2001). Those who are living abroad made those living in the country to aspire for similar migration. Most of Ethiopians are longing the opportunity to move to abroad. Those who have no access to travel to US and Europe put their target towards Arab Countries. Now Ethiopians make significant labor force in numerous Arab countries. Most of them who travel abroad are youngsters. By the virtue of global networking those who are living abroad keep in touch with the youth in the country. Their interaction is mostly with friends gained online. Though the networking has also paved the way for those who are abroad to easily communicate with their families in the home country, their communication is largely with peer found online. The communication among peer are supposed to be enjoyable. Those who are physically far apart from their family influenced significantly those who are with their parents. The global networking manifests its impact on the youth of the country by its mighty to draw spiritually far apart those who are geographically closer.
The government and its Medias were supposed to play their part in maintaining the value of family and the social cohesion. But today, in Ethiopia not only the family and the society but the government itself has come to be powerless. The powerlessness of the government do not emanate from economically inability and technological backwardness but ideological desperateness. The technological capability and economic affordability of the state to regulate those matters is evidenced in 2016. In this year, Ethiopia experienced uprising from almost each corner of the country. Being upset by the deep rooted corruption and maladministration that pervaded the government, millions of Ethiopians went out to streets for protest. It was a devastating scenario for the government which claimed to have won an election decidedly in the year preceded. The role of social media in catalyzing the protest was significant. When the impact of social media was felt in political matters, the government abruptly took a measure: internet service was interrupted for months. The measure to regulate internet and telecommunication services evidently cost the state a large sum of money and no doubt affected its foreign diplomacy significantly.
To try to control the advent of vices to the nation in varies forms hopefully would not cost the state that much. The implication is very clear; the care given to the political values is not given to social, cultural and ethical values. The experience of public revolt and the reaction given to it could be taken as a good illustration of the possibility to control the incursion of values that are immoral in the nation. Due to strong support, the current government has received in the trouble time of consolidating power in the early 1990’s from US and the rest of the west world (Sarbo, 2009), it has opened each and every door to their influence and culture. While the openness and loyalty of the current government to US neoliberal policies, ideology and strategy is theoretically none existent, the cultural openness is that which the government cared nothing about. To the worst the government itself is mentioned by other studies as the violator of the culture and the valued norm of the nation.“The reputation of the civil service is declining. Corruption is perceived to be growing and gnawing problem in the Ethiopian civil service. Traditional value of loyalty, honesty, obedience and respect for authority are giving way for breach of trust and dishonesty” (Alemayehu, 2001)
Related studies
From the wider perspective research works are abundant on issues of globalization and social media. However, studies that are pertinent to the context and geographical scope of this study area are rarely found. There is a need for further research on the effect of global networking on Ethiopian values. Discussing some studies which are conducted on other countries would be crucial in shading light to some degree on the importance of investigating further the exposure of Ethiopia to the global context. Studies on global networking reveal that provided the capability of developed world to make technology serve their interest it doesn’t appear at their prior concern. It is the less developed nations that have to show a serious concern about the impact of technology on their culture (National Academy of Sciences, 2001). The concern is said to emanate from the possibility of cultural domination through the working of technology. Internet as an illustration of the boom of networking has paved the way for the people of both developed and developing world to produce their own identity, express themselves while communicating and sharing with other people of different identity (ibid). The networking that extends to every corner of the globe has served as a field of interaction.
Global networking affects local values in several ways. Among others, the opportunity to exit from the community for individuals who may need to detach themselves and the increasing likelihood of threading and questioning local values because of one’s exposure to the values of others is worth mentioning (National Academy of Sciences, 2001). The family disintegration found out in this study complements with the effects of global networking identified by this study. As a number of studies found out, social media is very likely to result in addiction. The addiction according some studies has several levels. While some are mild others are very chronic. According to Griffiths (2011) studies conducted in different countries on university and college students reveal that addiction to social networking is common. Other studies found that Social media addiction has to do with lack of confidence and poorly built self-esteem (Ghassemzadeh et al., 2008). When measured by the tools used in those researches, some significant number of Ethiopian university students is chronically addicted to face book. In general terms, the negative effects of social media as found out by several studies include: confusing the real life with the online one (Nyland et al., 2007) loosing courage because of offensive online comments and falling in a state of illusion because of exaggerated appreciation, poor time management and academic performance (Kirschner and Karpinski, 2010), divorce and negative romantic relationship (Nyland et al., 2007); Severe mental health problem and the existence of additional drug addiction (Echeburua and Corral, 2010). A quick glimpse of my study shows a high exposure to all these negative consequences. 


It is true that an increased level of integration has been experienced as a result of global networking. The integration is manifest in Political, social/cultural, economic and technological aspects. This worldwide interconnection has provided the access to the people of the world to share knowledge, resources, ideas, values, and cultures. These multifaceted interactions played undeniable role in an attempt to integrate the globe as one functional body. But its effect of integration is not without counterpart disintegration. While integration has been catalyzed by the considerable power of global networking in undermining the role of geography, which limits people’s interaction, disintegration is witnessed where family and all that is spatially nearer is forgotten due to an exposure to the wider global community. Ethiopian extended family, which has entertained strong bond and harmony for thousands of years, is now losing its nature and leaning towards nuclear family structure. The holiness of collective and altruistic life is being substituted for individualism and unacceptable level of selfishness, a clear manifestation of disintegration. 


In order to cope up with this problem of family disintegration, the following points are recommended based on the findings of the study. Firstly, the educational policy needs to be revised. As a number of studies revealed, from the time ‘modern’ education is said to have started in the country, Ethiopian educational policy has always been outward looking (Messay, 2006; Paulos, 1976). From the period marked as the beginning of ‘modern’ education to the present time, there is strong affiliation towards western educational policies. An inward looking education policy that could promote indigenous values must be designed. A revival of Ethiopian ancient civilization and values should be advocated. Ancient literatures should be deeply scrutinized. The identity and culture of the country should be inculcated in the new generation. Secondly, the government must take the responsibility to establish culture and moral value based censorship system on all Medias.
The programs, documentaries, movies dramas and advertisings that are transmitted through public and private electronic Medias should be regulated. In addition to the electronic media, there should also be similar control over the print Medias. Anything that is against the moral and cultural value of the nation should not be allowed to get access on the media. Thirdly, the government also needs to maintain the culture and the morality of the public by closing its door to the import of products that endanger the spiritual and moral value of the public. Religious institutions and civil societies also need to cooperate in preserving the social cohesion and the position of family in the society. Finally, citizens in harmony should stand together to avoid anything that assails the self and the community in general. It is only through a collective effort of all citizens and other stake holders that such a hard aim could be meet. 


The author would like to express his heartfelt gratitude to all his interviewees and discussants.


The author has not declared any conflict of interests.


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