Nilo-Ethiopian Studies
Online ISSN : 1881-1175
Print ISSN : 1340-329X
Rethinking In/formality in Public Transport Management: Dynamics between State Intervention and the Current Practices of Tera Askebari in Addis Ababa
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2021 Volume 2021 Issue 26


Tera askebari are people who maintain order among minibus taxis and passengers at the minibus terminals in Addis Ababa. From 2011, tera askebari, who had been working informally for decades, started registering for a micro and small enterprises (MSEs) development program. However, affiliation with a government institution did not coerce tera askebari to comply with formality; rather, it enabled them to exhibit both formality and informality. This article aims to examine the dynamics of in/formality by observing the public transport management activities of tera askebari at terminal X. The findings of the study demonstrate that tera askeabri actively participate in the process of creating complex forms of informality. In a situation that MSEs program permitted tera askeabri to run their business autonomously, the legalized tera askebari (de jure) strategically utilized formality as well as informality through their operations. Meanwhile, the management activities of employed tera askebari (de facto) showed an informal aspect that was influenced by weak state control. The result illustrates that “informality” is not a static concept defined by particular characteristic, but a formulating process through which participants constantly negotiate and reproduce through their interactions with the formal configuration.

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© 2021 Japan Association for Nilo-Ethiopian Studies

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