Everyday mobility and changing livelihood trajectories: Implications for vulnerability and adaptation in dryland regions

Mark G. L. Tebboth, Chandni Singh, Dian Spear, Adelina M. Mensah, Prince Ansah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Dryland regions are highly dynamic environments in which multiple pressures intersect, threatening livelihood security. Mobility is an integral feature in these environments and represents a key risk management strategy for people to respond to frequent livelihood shocks and stresses. Global environmental change scholarship has tended to articulate spatial and temporal change inadequately, portraying populations in a way that belies their socially differentiated and inherently mobile livelihoods. We explored the role of mobility as an ongoing, "everyday" adaptive response to changing environmental, economic, and social conditions. We draw on 21 Life History (LH) interviews to explore the drivers and outcomes of people's mobility behavior in drylands of Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, and India. We present the adaptation option space (AOS) as a novel theoretical development to explore livelihood trajectories. Within our cases, we found that mobility was ubiquitous and facilitated changes to and exchanges within people's risk profiles in three main ways: novelty (risks gained or lost), modification (risks attenuated or accentuated), and no change. Temporal analysis showed three broad trajectories in people's lives set within broader structural constraints: upward, downward, and stable, depending on people's abilities to manage their AOS. The analysis confirmed that the AOS was a useful heuristic to understand how people exert agency to respond to an array of converging risks while negotiating broader drivers of change. Moreover, the data demonstrated how compounding shocks had negative impacts on people, highlighting the value of temporally-sensitive approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Article number36
JournalEcology and Society
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2023

Keywords

  • adaptation
  • climate change
  • drylands
  • mobility
  • risk
  • temporality
  • CLIMATE-CHANGE VULNERABILITY
  • EVENT-HISTORY ANALYSIS
  • ENVIRONMENTAL DIMENSIONS
  • HUMAN MIGRATION
  • OUT-MIGRATION
  • YOUNG-PEOPLE
  • RAINFALL
  • RESILIENCE
  • SCALE
  • LIFE

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