Transformation, adaptation and development: relating concepts to practice

Roger Few, Daniel Morchain, Dian Spear, Adelina Mensah, Ramkumar Bendapudi

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In recent years there has been a growing number of academic reviews discussing the theme of transformation and its association with adaptation to climate change. On the one hand this has stimulated exchange of ideas and perspectives on the parameters of transformation, but it has also given rise to confusion in terms of identifying what constitutes a non-incremental form of adaptation on the ground. What this article aims to do instead is help researchers and practitioners relate different interpretations of transformation to practice by proposing a typological framework for categorising forms of change that focuses on mechanisms and objectives. It then discusses how these categorisations link to the broader conceptions and critiques noted above, with the idea that this will enable those who seek to analyse or plan adaptation to better analyse what types of action are potentially constitutive of transformation. In doing so, it should equally assist in the identification and specification of critical questions that need to be asked of such activity in relation to issues of sustainability and equity.

As the term transformation gains ground in discussions of climate change adaptation, it is necessary to take a step back, review quite what commentators mean when they use the word, and consider the implications on people, especially the most vulnerable and marginalised, of “doing” or promoting transformation in its different forms.
Original languageEnglish
Article number17092
JournalPalgrave Communications
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017

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