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Much as development’s understanding of livelihoods became intertwined with notions of sustainability in the late 1990s, today livelihoods analysis is taking up the rise of resilience in the development and climate change adaptation communities of practice. The emergent concept of resilient livelihoods risks perpetuating problematic framings of both socio-ecological and livelihoods dynamics that limit the effectiveness of development and adaptation interventions. In this paper, I connect recent contributions to the livelihoods and socio-ecological resilience literatures to define resilient livelihoods as projects aimed at the achievement of well-being in a manner that preserves existing systems of meaning, order, and privilege. These projects (re)produce socio-ecologies, deeply human assemblages of socio-cultural and biotic elements. So framed, the idea of resilient livelihoods centers meaning, power, difference, and agency in both livelihoods and socio-ecological dynamics. It opens up new understandings of the character, sources, and importance of resilience in livelihoods, allows for the identification of new indicators of livelihoods fragility, points to previously-overlooked sources of potential livelihoods transformation and change, and suggests sites of productive engagement between development and adaptation interventions and transformation and change.

Carr, Edward R. (2020) Global Environmental Change, 64

Resilient livelihoods in an era of global transformation

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