Evictions for development: creative destruction, redistribution and the politics of unequal entitlements in inner-city Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), 2010–2018

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Ethnographies on evictions and critical urban studies have showed how, globally, corporate and government seizure of urban space has been fundamental to the production of circuits of values under capitalism. This paper adds another layer to the scholarly understanding of evictions. Drawing on long-term ethnographic research on the economies of Addis Ababa's inner city and the politics of city building in Ethiopia's capital carried out between 2010 and 2018, I explore how evictions not only helped make room for private investments and urban regeneration. Evictions helped make the logics of investments and capital accumulation the framework within which the reach and the scope of policies of redistribution have been defined. By exploring how redistribution is made compatible with dispossession, this paper explores how evictions reshaped the terms of poor people's adverse incorporation in Addis Ababa's development through a political and moral economy of unequal entitlement.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102671
Number of pages9
JournalPolitical Geography
Early online date16 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (FRS- FNRS ) [grant number FC 2597], the Fondation Wiener-Anspach and the Wenner-Gren Foundation [grant number 8106]. An early draft of this paper was written while I was Research Officer at LSE Cities for the 2018 African Centre for Cities conference in Cape Town. Special thanks go to Ricky Burdett, Philipp Rode, Taibat Lawanson, Connie Smith, Victoria Okoye, Ilda Lindell, Fatima Raja, Claire Mercer, Emma Lochery, Fasil Giorghis, Zegeyye Chernet and Bisrat Woldeyesus for their comments and encouragement. The DASA Reading group at the University of Birmingham, in particular Kate Skinner and Benedetta Rossi, provided valuable and precious advice that enabled me to sharpen the argument and the analytical prose.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022


  • Evictions
  • development
  • Creative Destruction
  • Entitlement
  • Addis Ababa
  • Ethiopia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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