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Power, Poverty And Wealth In Rural Ethiopia


This paper constitutes one output from the Ethiopia Wellbeing in Developing
Countries Research Programme. Using a dynamic open social systems framework, a case-based approach, and a multi-method data set, the paper explores connections between power relationships and struggles and quality of life for people in four rural sites in the Amhara and Oromia Regions of Ethiopia. Quality of life is conceptualised and studied from both 'objective' and 'subjective' perspectives. 'Objective' perspectives are rooted in (social) science; 'subjective' perspectives in local cultures. Interest in quality of life rather than poverty leads to a focus on 'people' rather than 'individuals' or households. 'People' come in two genders, a range of ages, and with a variety of social and cultural histories, social roles and relationships and personal interests and goals. This 'individuality' means that 'quality of life' concepts and research instruments must be sensitised, particularly to take account of differences in needs, desires, meanings and actions associated with different gendered ages. However, 'individuality' does not mean randomness. People's lifetime experiences and opportunities are socially patterned and highly influenced by location in local social and cultural structures. Institutionalised power relationships and collective mobilisations to change or maintain them are the key to the constitution of these structures. The paper describes a number of (interacting) power relationships, institutions, discourses and struggles which have recently affected objective and subjective quality of life in our rural sites, and which are associated with class, gender, generation, social origin (family, clan, ethnicity, religion, occupational 'caste', race), and command

Corporate Author: 
Getnet Alemu and Getachew Yoseph (Editor) & Ethiopian Economic Association/Ethiopian Economic Policy Research Institute
Ethiopian Economic Association (EEA)
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Call Number: 
330.963 PRO 2007
Serial Key Title: 
Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on the Ethiopian Economy
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Publication date: 
2013-05-27 00:00:00
Forum or Discussion date: 
2013-02-27 00:00:00
Place of publication: 
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
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