Advertisement

Embracing Uncertainty: Young People on the Move in Addis Ababa’s Inner City

  • Marco Di Nunzio
Chapter
Part of the Anthropology, Change and Development book series (ACD)

Abstract

This chapter discusses how young men’s understanding of the unpredictable as a ground for action and hope in inner-city Addis Ababa can inform anthropological examinations on the productivity of uncertainty. I start by narrating the biographies of three young men who, more than anybody else, taught me about the promises and the predicaments of living with uncertainty. As Cooper and Pratten have reminded us in their introduction, accounting for the messiness, the contingencies, and the multiplicities of life trajectories is not just a mere exercise of ethnographic writing. Studying biographies provides scholars with interpretative tools to consider how people translate the indeterminacy of existence into a sense of possibility and, ultimately, seek to connect what has been with what could be.

Keywords

Young People Social Practice Unemployed Youth Moral Luck Life Trajectory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Abbink, J. (2006) ‘Discomfiture or Democracy? The 2005 Election Crisis in Ethiopia and Its Aftermath’, African Affairs 105 (419): 173–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abbink, J. & I. van Kessel (2005) Vanguard or Vandals. Youth, Politics and Conflict in Africa (Leiden & Boston: Brill).Google Scholar
  3. Bigsten, A., K. Kronlid & Negatu Makonnen (1997) ‘Dynamics of Income Distribution in Urban Ethiopia 1994–1997’, in Bigsten, A., A. Shimeles & B. Kbede (eds.) Poverty and Income Distribution and Labour Markets in Ethiopia (Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet), pp. 100–132.Google Scholar
  4. Bledsoe, C. H. (2002) Contingent Lives. Fertility, Time and Aging in West Africa (Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bloch, E. (1976) ‘Dialectics and Hope’, New German Critique 9: 3–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Butler, J. (1997) The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection (Stanford: Stanford University Press).Google Scholar
  7. Crapanzano, V. (2004) Imaginative Horizons: An Essay in Literary-Philosophical Anthropology (Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press).Google Scholar
  8. Cruise O’Brien, D. B. (1996) ‘A Lost Generation? Youth Identity and State Decay in West Africa’, in Werbner, R. (ed.) Postcolonial Identities in Africa (London & New Jersey: Zed Books), pp. 55–74.Google Scholar
  9. Dewey, J. (1930) The Quest for Certainty: A Study of the Relation of Knowledge and Action (London: Allen & Unwin).Google Scholar
  10. Getahun, B. (2007) Addis Ababa. Migration and the Making of a Multi-ethnic Metropolis, 1941–1974 (Trenton, NJ, Asmara: The Red Sea Press).Google Scholar
  11. Hansen, K. T. (2005) ‘Getting Stuck in the Compound: Some Odds against Social Adulthood in Lusaka, Zambia’, Africa Today 51 (4): 3–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Honwana, A. & F. De Boeck (eds.) (2005) Makers & Breakers. Children & Youth in Postcolonial Africa (Oxford: James Currey; Trenton: Africa World Press; Dakar: Codesria).Google Scholar
  13. Jackson, M. (1989) Paths toward a Clearing. Radical Empiricism and Ethnographic Inquiry (Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press).Google Scholar
  14. Jackson, M. (2005) Existential Anthropology: Events, Exigencies and Effects (New York & Oxford: Berghahn Books).Google Scholar
  15. Leslau, W. (2005) Concise Amharic Dictionary (Addis Ababa: Shama Books).Google Scholar
  16. Levine, D. (1965) Wax and Gold: Tradition and Innovation in Ethiopia (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).Google Scholar
  17. Mains, D. (2012) Hope is Cut: Youth, Unemployment, and the Future in Urban Ethiopia (Philadelphia: Temple University Press).Google Scholar
  18. Messay, K. (1999) Survival and Modernization. Ethiopia’s Enigmatic Present: A Philosophical Discourse (Lawrenceville, NJ: The Red Sea Press).Google Scholar
  19. Miyazaki, H. (2004) The Method of Hope: Anthropology, Philosophy, and Fijan Knowledge (Stanford: Stanford University Press).Google Scholar
  20. Molvaer, R. K. (1995) Socialization and Social Control in Ethiopia (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag).Google Scholar
  21. Nagel, T. (1993). ‘Moral Luck’, in Statman, D. (ed.) Moral Luck (Albany: State University of New York Press), pp. 57–72.Google Scholar
  22. Pedersen, M. A. (2012) ‘A Day in the Cadillac. The Work of Hope in Urban Mongolia’, Social Analysis 56 (2): 136–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ralph, M. (2008) ‘Killing Time’, Social Text 97 (4): 1–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Rescher, N. (1993) ‘Moral Luck’, in Statman, D. (ed.) Moral Luck (Albany: State University of New York Press), pp. 141–166.Google Scholar
  25. Solomon, M. (2006) ‘Market-Oriented Reforms and Changes in Urban Household Income: A Study in Selected Small Towns of Ethiopia’, Eastern Africa Social Science Research Review 22 (2): 1–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Tekeste N. & K. Tronvoll (2000) Brothers at War. Making Sense of the Eritrean-Ethiopian War (Oxford: James Currey).Google Scholar
  27. Tronvoll K., C. Schaefer & G. Alemu Aneme (eds.) (2009) The Ethiopian Red Terror Trials (Oxford: James Currey).Google Scholar
  28. Vaughan, S. & K. Tronvoll (2003) The Culture of Power in Contemporary Ethiopian Political Life (Stockholm: Sida Studies No.10).Google Scholar
  29. Vigh, H. E. (2006a) Navigating Terrains of War. Youth and Soldiering in Guinea Bissau (New York & Oxford: Berghahn Books).Google Scholar
  30. Vigh, H. E. (2006b) ‘Social Death and Violent Life Chances’, in Christiansen, C., M. Utas & H. E. Vigh (eds.) Navigating Youth, Generating Adulthood. Social Becoming in an African Context (Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet), pp. 31–60.Google Scholar
  31. Weiss, B. (2009) Street Dreams and Hip-Hop Barbershops. Global Fantasy in Urban Tanzania (Bloomington: Indiana University Press).Google Scholar
  32. Williams, B. (1993) ‘Moral Luck’, in Statman, D. (ed.) Moral Luck (Albany: State University of New York Press), pp. 35–56.Google Scholar
  33. Whyte, S. (1997) Questioning Misfortune. The Pragmatic of Uncertainty in Eastern Uganda (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  34. Whyte, S. (2002) ‘Subjectivity and Subjunctivity. Hoping for Health in Eastern Uganda’, in Werbner, R. (ed.) Postcolonial Subjectivities in Africa (London: Zed Books), pp. 171–188.Google Scholar
  35. Whyte, S. (2009) ‘Epilogue’, in Haram, L. & B. Yamba (eds.) Dealing with Uncertainty in Contemporary African Lives (Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet), pp. 213–216.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Marco Di Nunzio 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marco Di Nunzio

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations