Home About Browse Search
Svenska


Asking the right questions in adaptation research and practice: Seeing beyond climate impacts in rural Nepal

Ensor, Jonathan Edward and Wennström, Patrick and Bhatterai, Anil and Nightingale, Andrea and Eriksen, Siri and Sillmann, Jana (2019). Asking the right questions in adaptation research and practice: Seeing beyond climate impacts in rural Nepal. Environmental Science and Policy. 94 , 227-236
[Journal article]

[img] PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

450kB

Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2019.01.013

Abstract

Adaptation research and practice too often overlooks the wider social context within which climate change is experienced. Mainstream approaches frame adaptation problems in terms of the consequences that flow from biophysical impacts and as a result, we argue, ask the wrong questions. A complementary approach gaining ground in the field, foregrounding the social, economic and political context, reveals differentiation in adaptation need, and how climate impacts interconnect with wider processes of change. In this paper, we illustrate how this kind of approach frames a different set of questions about adaptation using the case of Nepal. Drawing on fieldwork and a review of literature, we contrast the questions that emerge from adaptation research and practice that take climate risk as a starting point with the questions that emerge from examination of contemporary rural livelihoods. We find that while adaptation efforts are often centred around securing agricultural production and are predicated on climate risk management, rural livelihoods are caught in a wider process of transformation. The numbers of people involved in farming are declining, and households are experiencing the effects of rising education, abandonment of rural land, increasing wages, burgeoning mechanisation, and high levels of migration into the global labour market. We find the epistemological framing of adaptation too narrow to account for these changes, as it understands the experiences of rural communities through the lens of climate risk. We propose that rather than seeking to integrate local understandings into a fixed, impacts-orientated epistemology, it is necessary to premise adaptation on an epistemology capable of exploring how change occurs. Asking the right questions thus means opening up adaptation by asking: ‘what are the most significant changes taking place in people's lives?’, along with the more standard: ‘what are the impacts of climate change?’ Viewing adaptation as occurring between and within these two perspectives has the potential to reveal new vulnerabilities and opportunities for adaptation practice to act upon.

Authors/Creators:Ensor, Jonathan Edward and Wennström, Patrick and Bhatterai, Anil and Nightingale, Andrea and Eriksen, Siri and Sillmann, Jana
Title:Asking the right questions in adaptation research and practice: Seeing beyond climate impacts in rural Nepal
Year of publishing :2019
Volume:94
Page range:227-236
Number of Pages:10
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1462-9011
Language:English
Publication Type:Journal article
Refereed:Yes
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 105 Earth and Related Environmental Sciences > Climate Research
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 5 Social Sciences > 507 Social and Economic Geography > Human Geography
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 5 Social Sciences > 509 Other Social Sciences > Social Sciences Interdisciplinary (Peace and Conflict Research and Studies on Sustainable Society)
Keywords:Adaptation, Climate change, Nepal, South Asia, Rural transformation, Rural development
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-99817
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-99817
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1016/j.envsci.2019.01.013
ID Code:16102
Faculty:LTV - Fakulteten för landskapsarkitektur, trädgårds- och växtproduktionsvetenskap
NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:21 May 2019 06:51
Metadata Last Modified:09 Aug 2020 17:41

Repository Staff Only: item control page

Downloads

Downloads per year (since September 2012)

View more statistics

Downloads
Hits