Background and activities

I am a social geographer interested in and teaching and researching children, youth, and the structural transformation of their local environments in Africa. I am Programme Leader of MPhil in Childhood Studies, teaching courses on Children and Development in the Global South (BARN 3300), Participatory Methods and Ethics (BARN 3201).  

My research focuses on the generational implications of development with a particular emphasis on young people’s lives, i.e. labor, rights, entitlements, learning, and social transitions to adulthood. My current work intersects youth studies and development studies looking at how political-economic processes transform and are transformed by the material social practices of young people. Recently I undertook fieldwork on mobility and livelihood pathways of post-socialist youth, as well as on questions of youth activism for social and spatial justice; complementing my decade long participatory research with children and families found on the margins of society and political economy in Ethiopia.

I was Director of Council for Development of Social Science Research in Africa’s (CODESRIA) 2017 Child and Youth Institute that explored African Futures and Futures of Childhood in Africa. My ongoing project (2017-2019), financed by Nordic Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences, involves a series of international seminars to theorize Children’s Migration in Historical and Cross-cultural Perspectives. I also lead a NORPART project funded by Diku (2019-2023) focusing on postgraduate student mobility (MA and Ph.D.) between Addis Ababa University and NTNU to promote collaborative, critical research and teaching on childhood, culture and sustainable development. 

I serve as an editorial board member of Children’s Geographies, Childhood, Fennia: International Journal of Geography, and The Sage Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood Studies.

Scientific, academic and artistic work

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

Journal publications


  • 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; 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. (2018) A Plea for Participatory Ethics and Knowledge Production with Children in Africa.
  • Abebe, Tatek. (2018) Youth Precarity and Protest in Ethiopia's Developmental State. Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies Annual Lecture . Bayreuth University; Germany. 2018-01-08 - 2018-01-08.
  • Abebe, Tatek. (2018) Youth, Waithood and the Future in Post-socialist Ethiopia. Young People, Society and Space Seminar Series . San Diego State University; USA. 2018-04-04 - 2018-04-04.
  • Abebe, Tatek; Ekberg, Karin. (2018) Childhood Studies - the next 25 years. Seminar for the 25th Anniversary of Childhood . Department of Education and Lifelong Learning, NTNU; Trondheim. 2018-11-05 - 2018-11-06.
  • Abebe, Tatek. (2017) African Futures and Futures of Childhood in Africa. CODESRIA Child and Youth Institute . Council for Development of Social Science Research in Africa; Dakar. 2017-08-25 - 2017-09-08.
  • Abebe, Tatek. (2017) Childhood Studies in Africa. [TV]. 2017-10-11.