Fasil N. Taye's PhD research is about children’s work within the traditional weaving sector in Addis Ababa. The study aims to contribute to an understanding of how policy actions that aim to modernize the traditional weaving industry through formalizing the informal weaving enterprises affect childhoods and children’s work. Drawing from the literature of childhood and children’s work, the study builds on the micro and macro analysis of childhood(s) and links the literature of childhood with the informal sector. In so doing, the study will focus on children’s everyday practices in their local contexts (micro analysis of childhood), and at the same time, it seeks to tease out the effects of global and national policies of formalizing the informal sector on childhoods (macro analysis of childhood). Formalization policies have lead, among other things, to a spatial reorganization of some of the workplaces of children and adults. This has resulted in the presence of three different spatial arrangements of work (households, rented homes and government-built working premises) within the traditional weaving industry. To understand the socio-spatial relations of children’s work in these workplaces, the study will follow a comparative analysis. This involves analysing the spatial order of generational and gender relations of children’s work, the spatial understanding of childhoods and their agency, the spatial dimensions of division of labour, and children’s time-use and labour-power in the different work places.
The study will apply an analytical framework that integrates socio-cultural and political economy approaches to provide a holistic picture of children’s work and childhoods within a given economic structure (the informal sector). In doing so, the study seeks to explain children’s work in relation to the broader political economic processes whilst situating the conceptualizations of childhoods (including the gender and generational dimensions), agency and the daily material practices in children’s own terms within their respective workplaces. A relational approach will be followed as the study recognizes children as social actors and appreciates their agency. In this light, it is important to recognise that working children in weaving occupations are from a specific ethnic group and weaving is a male dominated occupation. Using a feminist political economy framework, the study will look at how formalizing informal enterprises affects children’s productive and reproductive activities, their childhoods and livelihoods. Methodologically, the study will follow an ethnographic orientation to research whilst employing both qualitative and quantitative methods. Observation, time-use survey, interviews, focus group discussions, historiography and document review will be used to generate the required empirical material.