Struggling to survive, or adapting for the future. Understanding climate change problems, responses and capacities from the perspective of farmers, fishermen and workers in rural Bangladesh (2011)

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This thesis investigates how people in rural Bangladesh perceive and respond to climate change, and how their adaptive capacity is shaped and constrained by the social, economic, political and institutional context in which they struggle to adapt Bangladesh is a low-laying coastal area in the middle of the heavily populated mega-delta of the Ganges-Brahmaputra plain. Combined with a high frequency of natural disasters, like floods, droughts and cyclones, a weak economy and high poverty levels, it make Bangladesh a hotspot for climate change vulnerability. Climate change and adaptation is studied from below, from the perspective of people living with climate changes. The research design draws on a grounded theory methodology. Four months of qualitative fieldwork on climate change and adaptation in rural Bangladesh constitutes the empirical backbone of the research. Climate change impacts are studied in their local forms based on the perceptions of villagers. For villagers in rural Bangladesh the primary focus is on problems, not causalities. Most of the problems that villagers associate with climate change are not in any way new. Climate change functions as a risk multiplier, adding new dimensions, enhancing or accelerating existing problems, and putting extra strain on people who are already extremely vulnerable. There are not any strategies exclusively used to tackle only climate change, because people respond to problems that are caused by multiple factors - and climate change is only one of them. The response strategies of villagers are categorized in two continuums: coping vs. adapting and planned vs. spontaneous. It is shown how most villagers deploy spontaneous coping strategies in response to immediate problems. The theoretical ambition is to contribute to an understanding of the concept of adaptive capacity as a social phenomenon. Distinguishing between coping and adapting highlights the choices that people make, as well as the choices that are denied to the
Year: 2011
Language: English
Page: 133
Thesis note: Thesis (M. Sc.) - Roskilde University, International Development Studies,

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