'; ICES20 at Mekelle University: 20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies
Geralta mountains

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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Gunilla BJERÉN, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University

From 1972 to 1973, I spent a year in Shashemene gathering data, in preparation for a doctoral dissertation which was to focus on rural-urban migration. Shashemene was at the time the fastest growing town in Ethiopia. As it turned out, the unusually rapid growth of the town was primarily caused by inter-urban mobility and closely linked to the varying conditions of the many different ethnic groups that populated the town. My main data came from two surveys that I administered with the help of local talent, supported by primary data from urban surveys carried out by the Central Statistical Office in 1965 and 1970. In 2008, I was able to visit Shashemene again in order to do a re-study of my original project. My aim was to find out how the many dramatic events that had occurred Ethiopia appeared in people’s accounts of their life stories, and how the transformation of Ethiopian society plays out in a town such as Shashemene. The data base this time was made up of primary data from the original surveys, the same from the censuses of 1994 and 2007, a sample survey carried out in 2008, and in-depth life history interviews from 2009. In this paper, I will discuss the experience of doing a restudy after such a long time. What can be understood when analysing data collected in a situation where everything has changed drastically, i.e. the field, the researcher and the theoretical framework? How has a mixed methods approach worked in this situation? These are the questions I want to discuss in Makelle.