Background and activities

I am convenor of postgraduate programs, namely MPhil in Childhood Studies and Ph.D. in Education specializing in Interdisciplinary Child Research. My teaching, research, and publications intersect childhood/youth studies and development studies with an emphasis on how young people are affected by and contribute to the transformation of the socio-cultural and political-economic environments they inhabit. I have conducted longitudinal ethnographic and participatory research on precarious childhoods and youth in Ethiopia and worked on a range of topics in diverse African contexts.

In recent years, my research has focused on popular culture and aesthetics of youth activism with an emphasis on the revolutionary capacities of young people's music/music videos/oral poetry. This includes fieldwork involving music activists, artists, lyricists, performers, etc. to bridge gaps in knowledge production between academia and other communities of practice on pressing concerns such as oppression, violence and dispossession, but also as a means to achieve cultural and epistemic justice.

Currently, I lead a project financed by the Norwegian Directorate for Higher Education and Skills (2019-2024) to facilitate research, teaching, and capacity-building activities on the connections between childhood, culture, and sustainable development. I am also involved in several writing projects, coediting the Routledge Handbook of Childhood and Global Development and a themed issue of Childhood on southern theories and global childhood studies. 

I am a member of the research group on Critical Childhood and Youth Studies and serve as an editorial board member of ChildhoodChildren’s Geographies; and Fennia: International Journal of Geography.

Previous externally funded projects:

  • Principal Investigator for research on the livelihood strategies of AIDS-affected children and families (Research Council of Norway, 2004-2008).
  • Project Leader, Nordic Network of African Childhoods and Youth Research - NoNACYR (NordForsk, 2011-2016).
  • Project Leader, Children’s Migration in Historical and Cross-cultural Perspectives (NOS-HS, 2017-2020).
  • Co-Principal Investigator in interdisciplinary research consortium focusing on childhood and local knowledge in Ethiopia and Zambia (NUFU, 2007-2012).
  • Co-Principal Investigator, Young People, Participation and Sustainable Development in an Urbanizing World (UN-Habitat, 2012-2013).
  • Director of the Council for Development of Social Science Research in Africa’s Child and Youth Institute: African Futures and Childhood Studies in Africa (CODESRIA, 2017).

Scientific, academic and artistic work

Displaying a selection of activities. See all publications in the database

Journal publications


  • Sørenssen, Ingvild Kvale; Abebe, Tatek; Ursin, Marit. (2021) Barndomsstudier i norsk kontekst : Tverrfaglige tilnærminger. Gyldendal Akademisk. 2021. ISBN 9788205519213.
  • Abebe, Tatek; Waters, Johanna; Skelton, Tracey. (2017) Laboring and Learning. Springer. 2017. ISBN 978-981-287-031-5. Geographies of Children and Young People (.).
  • Abebe, Tatek; Kjørholt, Anne Trine. (2013) Childhood and Local Knowledge in Ethiopia: Livelihoods, Rights and Intergenerational Relationships. Akademika forlag. 2013. ISBN 9788251928533.

Part of book/report

  • Abebe, Tatek. (2021) Rekonseptualisering av "Aktorskap" i Barndomsstudier. Barndomsstudier i norsk kontekst : Tverrfaglige tilnærminger.
  • Abebe, Tatek; Ursin, Marit; Sørenssen, Ingvild Kvale. (2021) Barndomsstudier i Norge: Historien, konteksten og hvor vi er i dag. Barndomsstudier i norsk kontekst : Tverrfaglige tilnærminger.
  • Ursin, Marit; Sørenssen, Ingvild Kvale; Abebe, Tatek. (2021) Tverrfaglige barndomsstudier: Hvor er vi, og hvor går vi?. Barndomsstudier i norsk kontekst : Tverrfaglige tilnærminger.
  • Abebe, Tatek. (2020) AIDS Orphans. The Sage Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood Studies.
  • Abebe, Tatek. (2020) ETHIOPIA. Teens Lives Around the World: A Global Encyclopedia.
  • Abebe, Tatek; Waters, Johanna. (2017) Geographies of Laboring and Learning: Introduction. Laboring and Learning..
  • Ursin, Marit; Abebe, Tatek. (2017) Young People’s Marginal Livelihoods and Social Transitions in Urban Brazil: Tale of Four Lives. Laboring and Learning..
  • Abebe, Tatek. (2016) Political economy of children’s work: economic restructuring, the coffee trade and social reproduction in post-Socialist Ethiopia. Geographies of Global Issues: Change and Threat.
  • Abebe, Tatek. (2015) Reframing children's contributions to household livelihoods in Ethiopia through a political-economy perspective. Children's Work and Labour in East Africa. Social Context and Implications for Policy.
  • Abebe, Tatek; Tefera, Tamirat. (2014) Earning Rights - Discourses on Childrens Rights and Proper Childhood in Ethiopia. Childrens Lives in an Era of Childrens Rights The Progress of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Africa.
  • Abebe, Tatek. (2013) Interdependent Rights and Agency: Children's Role in Collective Livelihood Strategies in Rural Ethiopia. Reconceptualizing Children's Rights in International Development: Living Rights, Social Justice and Translations.
  • Abebe, Tatek; Gizaw, Shumete; Mekonnen, Teferi; Baudouin, Axel. (2013) Migrant children’s portfolio of street-based livelihoods in urban Ethiopia. Childhood and Local Knowledge in Ethiopia: Livelihoods, Rights and Intergenerational Relationships.
  • Abebe, Tatek; Kjørholt, Anne Trine. (2013) Children, Intergenerational Relationships and Local Knowledge in Ethiopia. Childhood and Local Knowledge in Ethiopia: Livelihoods, Rights and Intergenerational Relationships.
  • Ali, Mohammed; Desalegn, Fikre; Abebe, Tatek. (2013) Children’s Knowledge of Local Food Sources and Habits in Southwestern Ethiopia. Childhood and Local Knowledge in Ethiopia: Livelihoods, Rights and Intergenerational Relationships.
  • Beyene, Tizita Abate; Abebe, Tatek. (2013) The Socio-economic Roles of Children in Ethiopian Periodic Markets. Childhood and Local Knowledge in Ethiopia: Livelihoods, Rights and Intergenerational Relationships.
  • Tefera, Tamirat; Abebe, Tatek; Elefachew, Tibebu. (2013) Childhood and Parenting Practices in Dilla Town. Childhood and Local Knowledge in Ethiopia: Livelihoods, Rights and Intergenerational Relationships.
  • Abebe, Tatek. (2012) Orphanhood, Poverty and the Channenges of Care - Review of Global Policy Trends. Orphan Care: A Comparative View.
  • Abebe, Tatek. (2011) Gendered work and schooling in rural Ethiopia: Exploring working children's perspectives. Not Just a Victim: The Child as Catalyst and Witness of Contemporary Africa.
  • Abebe, Tatek. (2010) Sik'älla as a Way of Life: Begging, Poverty and the Livelihood Paths of Child Beggars in Addis Ababa. Research in Ethiopian Studies: Selected papers of the 16th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies, Trondheim July 2007, Aethiopistische Forschungen Vol. 72.
  • Abebe, Tatek. (2008) Changing Livelihoods, Changing Childhoods: Patterns of Children's Work in Rural Southern Ethiopia. Global Childhoods: Globalization, Development and Young People.