Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Political Science

Committee Chair(s)

Anna Pechenkina


Anna Pechenkina


Colin Flint


Chris Conte


Since gaining independence in 1961, Tanzania has enjoyed high levels of national identification, far higher than other states in east Africa. Yet, between 2005 and 2015, the Afrobarometer survey recorded a decline in the national identity and an increase in ethnic identities in Tanzania. These changes are striking because of the successful nation-building policies implemented by former president Julius Nyerere. In addition, during the same period of 2005-2015, states bordering Tanzania have increased their level of national identification. This thesis reviews the literature on how changes in institutions, economic modernization, and conflict create incentives for political competition that may in turn reshape identities. The preliminary results suggest that while the introduction of the multiparty rule in 1992 in Tanzania created a more competitive and democratic political process, it may have also brought about a longer trend of identity shift in the Tanzanian population: the national identity has been declining, while ethnic identities have been rising