History, Modernity, and the Making of an African Spatiality: Addis Ababa in Perspective
2014 (English)In: Urban Forum, ISSN 1015-3802, E-ISSN 1874-6330, Vol. 25, no 3, 267-293 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
A body of scholarship in urban theory of global South over the last two decades has begun to present counterhegemonic notions of modernity and urbanism thereby charting new ways to conceptualize and study African cities. While the need for fuller, richer, and more textured accounts of ordinariness of African cities is often emphasized, the usefulness of differentiated accounts of cities to understanding their spatiality is also highlighted. This article attempts to supplement the ongoing discussion by exploring Addis Ababa as an African city with particular cultural and political historical contexts that gave it distinct experiences of modernity. Data is primarily drawn from historical study of modernizations of the city, supplemented with an ethnographic study that documents contemporary changes and lived experiences in the city and its emerging modern residential places. The study shows that the local experience of modernity is primarily situated in the isolated and noncolonial history of the nation, which on the one hand helps preserve indigenous qualities and on the other becomes a source of envy contributing to the consciousness of belatedness compared to other colonized and Western countries. This consciousness coordinates political intentions with people’s everyday practices in the co-making of a new, modern Addis Ababa and the reassertion of its unofficial identity as “the Diplomatic Capital of Africa.” Potentials and challenges of place-based conceptions of urbanism are implicated.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 25, no 3, 267-293 p.
Addis Ababa, History, Identity, Modernity, Place, Urbanism
Other Social Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-161657DOI: 10.1007/s12132-013-9209-xScopusID: 2-s2.0-84904573765OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-161657DiVA: diva2:795096
QC 201506232015-03-132015-03-132015-06-23Bibliographically approved