The Livelihood Strategies of Rural-Urban Migrants in Addis Ababa: Case Studies of Amhara and Gurage Migrants

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Addis Ababa University


Two kinds of approaches have emerged in migration research over the years. One approach takes a "macro" level view of migrants based on statistics and categorizations. The other approach uses "micro" level analysis relying mostly on qualitative methodologies. The Ethiopian literature on migration shows that researchers usually favor "macro" level approaches. This research is an attempt to redress the imbalance by conducting a "micro" level qualitative analysis of the livelihood strategies of twelve Gurage and Amhara men and women migrants in Addis Ababa. The life histories of the migrants presented in this research have been composed in such a way as to present moving and intimate views of the individuals in relation to their past and present amid the dynamics of socio-economic integration into the urban way of life. Amid the diverse nature of the life experiences of each of the case studies, attempt has been made to draw generalizations in the concluding section of this thesis regarding patterns of employment, social relationships, living conditions, incomes and institutional relationships. The livelihood strategies show us the sequence of social positions the migrants have occupied throughout their lives and the changing definitions of themselves and their world they have held at various stages. In analyzing the life histories, attempt has been made draw comparisons with other research findings where relevant. In Addis Ababa, close to a half of the city's population comes from the rural areas. Cities have been the engines of development in the African context, including Ethiopia, and a look at the livelihood strategies of rural-urban migrants in the urban context can help us understand some of the major undercurrents of social change in the country



Social Anthropology