Power, Poverty And Wealth In Rural Ethiopia

Course ID
Ethiopian Economics Association (EEA)
Philipas Bevan


Ethiopia is one of the most food insecure countries in the world. It suffers from both Chronic and acute food insecurity. These two modes of food insecurity require different strategies and interventions. In 2003 the Government of Ethiopia announced that there are 5.6 million people that are chronically food insecure (currently standing at 8.2 million) and launched the Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) through which the needs of these people are to be addressed. Since its launch the programme has been facing several challenges. For the purpose of this paper five major challenges are identified and discussed. First, conceptually, it has been difficult to get a common understanding on concepts like “safety net” and “graduation”. Second, the most serious challenge is targeting of beneficiaries. DespiAbstract:
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
Publisher: Ethiopian Economic Association (EEA)
ISBN/ISSN: 978-9994-54-03-7
Primary Descriptors:


Secondary Descriptor: Geographic Descriptors:
EthiopiaCataloge Date: 02/27/2013
Broad Subject heading: Poverty
Call Number: 330.963 PRO 2007
Serial Key Title: Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on the Ethiopian Economy
Publication catagory: International Conference
Content type: EEA Publication
Volume: II
Publication date: 2013-05-27 00:00:00
Forum or Discussion date: 2013-02-27 00:00:00
PDF file: Philipas and Alula_Power Poverty and Wealth in Rural Ethiopia.pdf
Place of publication: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Type of material: Book
Current frequency: Annualy
Author: Philipas Bevan and Alula Pankhurstte