Marginality as a politics of limited entitlements

Street life and the dilemma of inclusion in urban Ethiopia

by Marco di Nunzio

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Marginality is commonly understood as a condition of outsideness. But it is better understood as something internal: the ways poor people are integrated into the wider society define forms and experiences of marginality. In urban Ethiopia, marginality is a historical outcome, contingent on the ways that decades of integration policies have codified poor people's membership in society through an enduring politics of limited entitlements. Such inclusion can marginalize, and dissecting what poor people are included in is key to imagining new grounds for progressive politics. While marginality endures, it also remains a contingent historical product that can be challenged by questioning hegemonic understandings of what it is right to give to the poor.

A partial view of inner-city Addis Ababa and its long-standing architectural features, October 16, 2010.
A partial view of inner-city Addis Ababa and its long-standing architectural features, October 16, 2010. ()