Recap: SCAD with Alula Pankhurst
On November 13, the Social Change and Development in Africa working group welcomed Alula Pankhurst (Ethiopia WIDE) for his lecture titled, “The changing faces of Ethiopia’s rural communities: evidence from Ethiopia WIDE 20 communities over 20 years with a focus on inequalities and youth transitions.” The presentation focused on changes affecting Ethiopia’s rural communities, the WIDE study, urbanization and rural life, inequalities, and youth transitions to adulthood.
The WIDE research project interviewed a diverse group of people, studying twenty communities total over a twenty-year period. Rural communities selected varied in their environments, livelihoods, cultures, and religious affiliations. The first phase of the project used sociological and historical studies in fifteen rural communities that exemplified Ethiopia’s main farming systems. The second phase revisited these fifteen communities and added five new communities to the study. Finally the third phase of the study revisited all twenty communities in three stages over a three-year period. Data was used in synchronic comparative case-based analyses and diachronic investigations of continuity and change.
In the last phase of the project, it was found that all twenty communities were differentially caught up in three kinds of urbanizing processes that had affected rural life—“rurbanization,” expansion of towns into rural land, and thickening rural-urban linkages. The study also found that there were three kinds of changing inequality in rural Ethiopia—wealth, gender, and intergenerational. Pankhurst highlighted the intergenerational inequalities by discussing youth transition, which has become longer, more complex, and less predictable than in the past.