Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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Marie BRIDONNEAU, French Centre of Ethiopian Studies (cfee), Addis Abeba / Nanterre University

This presentation exploits a fieldwork’s material collected in various condominiums, mainly in Jemo site, within an international collaborative programme, DALVAA. Based on empirical research, it aims to unravel the politics of every day life and offers a political ‘grassroots’ analysis of urban change, from the standpoint of materiality of space – rather than from the ability of dwellers to resort to a language of rights against authoritarian practices or neoliberal agendas. Ever since the 2000’s, policies that promote access to housing are a key tool to the Ethiopian government’s economic planning strategy and it’s political project. This politicisation of urban renewal intertwines a top-down and state-led management of access to public housing and the variety of individual/entrepreneurial strategies or bricolages that dwellers daily implement to answer or bypass state’s requirements. Considered as key experimental spaces for the construction of developmental agendas, condominium spaces- once appropriated by dwellers - reveal to be social and potentially political laboratories. Do they crystallise new political aspirations or reproduce – albeit with slight differences – a long-standing socio-political order characterised by an owner-tenant hierarchy, bureaucratic procedures and sanctions based around social control? This presentation observes this potential socio-political shift on the basis of a fine-grained analysis of homeowners associations (committee) recently promoted inside condominiums sites.