Living on the edge: Gender relations, climate change and livelihoods in the villages of Maryut and Nubia, Egypt

Daoud, Mona (2016) Living on the edge: Gender relations, climate change and livelihoods in the villages of Maryut and Nubia, Egypt. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Most climate change literature tends to downplay the gendered nature of vulnerability and adaptation. At best, gender is discussed in terms of the male-female binary, seen as opposing forces rather than in varying relations of interdependency. Such construction can result in the adoption of maladaptive policy presenting culturally unfit gender-blind interventions. In Egypt, which is highly vulnerable to climate change, gender analysis of how intra- and inter-household relations shape people’s adaptive responses is non-existent. This thesis addresses this important research gap by asking ‘How do gender relations influence vulnerability and adaptation to climate-related stresses in a rural Egyptian context of multiple risks, shocks and stresses?’
Drawing on gender analysis of social relations (Kabeer, 1994, Jackson, 2007, Sen, 1987), based on the notion of multiple and intersecting roles and identities, and framed within an understanding of sustainable livelihoods (Ellis, 2000, Scoones, 1998), I position climate change within a broader spectrum of political, sociocultural, economic and environmental influences on people’s livelihoods. During 16 months of fieldwork I used multiple ethnographic methods to collect data from two culturally and ethnically diverse low-income villages; Nubia in Aswan in Egypt’s Nile valley and Maryut in Alexandria in the Nile Delta.
My main argument is that experiences of and responses to climate change are closely intertwined with gender and wider social relations in the household and community. These are shaped by local gendered ideologies and cultures that are embedded in conjugal relations, kinship, and relationship to the environment, as compared across the two villages. In Nubia, kinship (based on matrilineal and matrilocal ties) and its resulting intergenerational local knowledge of the environment and its changes, as well as mutual support networks, figure as the most significant influences mediating gendered adaptation. In Maryut, I argue that this mostly patrilocal nuclear family setting tends to make individuals and households less able to adapt. In this study I strongly argue that these sociocultural gendered issues should be at the heart of adaptation discourses, policy and interventions.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of International Development
Depositing User: Nicola Veasy
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2016 10:54
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2016 10:54

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