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

Tebboth, Mark G. L. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1193-8080, Singh, Chandni, Spear, Dian, Mensah, Adelina M. and Ansah, Prince (2023) Everyday mobility and changing livelihood trajectories: Implications for vulnerability and adaptation in dryland regions. Ecology and Society, 28 (1). ISSN 1708-3087

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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.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: This work was carried out with financial support from the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, and the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada. The views expressed herein are those of the creators and do not necessarily represent those of the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, IDRC or its Board of Governors. The paper also benefitted from funding through the South African Department of Science and Technology. We would like our respondents across Ghana, India, Kenya, and Namibia for sharing their life stories with us, Catherine Locke for ideas and comments during initial stages of the paper, and Adaptation Workshop organizers at the University of Michigan, and participants who were influential in shaping later drafts of the paper. DATA AVAILABILITY: Data/code sharing is not applicable to this article because no data/code were analyzed in this study that can be shared without breaching confidentiality and anonymity agreements of the interviewees.
Uncontrolled 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,sdg 13 - climate action ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/climate_action
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Global Development (formerly School of International Development)
University of East Anglia Research Groups/Centres > Theme - ClimateUEA
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Migration Research Network
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Global Environmental Justice
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Centres > Water Security Research Centre
University of East Anglia Schools > Faculty of Science > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 25 May 2023 09:33
Last Modified: 25 May 2023 09:33
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/92171
DOI: 10.5751/ES-13626-280136


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