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Link Pack #14: Kerala, poverty pathways, and coping strategies

Listening: In the Field, a promising development podcast from India (do check them out in case you haven't already) open their second season with a great episode on Kerala - the poster child of development in India and where it is today. Includes discussions on how Kerala's development trajectory has meant different things for men and women (differences in expectations, women still seen as conduits of 'economic outflows' despite being key sources of remittances - think Malayalee nurses).    the 2018 floods and whether Kerala's development has come at the cost of its environmental security.  future development pathways for Kerala (a knowledge economy? but what of changing aspirations?) Reading: There is a new special issue in Environment and Development Economics which has a series of papers examining the links between poverty and climate change. In the introduction to the special issue, Hallegatte et al.  (open access) highlight how climate change can pus

New Project: Recovery with Dignity

I'm starting a new project called ' Recovery with Dignity ' with a great set of researchers at University of East Anglia and IIHS . We're examining processes and impacts of representation and memorialisation in post-disaster recovery processes, with case studies in Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. As the project takes shape, the team is thinking and writing about post-disaster representation (who represents whom and what, when and why) and how perhaps pluralising representation can make it more inclusive. We're building on previous experiences in Odisha and Tamil Nadu where we found that short-term humanitarian assistance tends to overlook longer-term development impacts . In Chennai for example, we found relocation and resettlement are common 'tools' of disaster recovery but have longer-term social, economic, and intangible impacts on resettled lives and livelihoods. They also forefront multiple agendas - a removal of slums in the city, the thrust to vaca

Link Pack #13: A great paper on vulnerability

Reading: Are you a vulnerability researcher? There's a great new paper by James Ford and others reviewing vulnerability research and defining a forward-looking research agenda. From a review of 587 papers, they identify seven concerns in vulnerability research from 1990 to 2016. They are: neglect of social drivers, promotion of a static under- standing of human-environment interactions, vagueness about the concept of vulnerability, neglect of cross-scale interactions, passive and negative framing, limited influence on decision-making, and limited collaboration across disciplines.  Most usefully, the paper crosschecks if each concern is substantiated by the literature. For example, they find the concern that social drivers of vulnerability are neglected has limited supporting evidence since foundational work in vulnerability (such as Watts and Bohle's  work on famine and vulnerability, Blaikie and Wisner's seminal work on the political economy of risk , and Jesse Ribot&

Bigfoot: On being a climate scientist that flies

Flying around the globe to attend climate change conferences that discuss the importance of flying less has got to be one of the most ironical parts of my job. On the one hand, the research world is moving towards being more connected. We're in an age of multi-country studies and collaborative, international research teams; North-South partnerships and shrinking timelines to build those partnerships. On the other hand, there is a growing call for climate change researchers to introspect on their own carbon footprint from flying . Personally, this dilemma [wanting to fly and grab all the opportunities (!) vs. seriously dealing with my Big(carbon)Foot problem] has troubled me for several years now. There is a growing online conversation on ways to solve this dilemma (see here , here and here ). However, the articles I come across on flying less or no flying are often written by researchers in contexts far different from mine. The conversations I've had on low/no flying have

Research for (Policy) Impact

Demonstrating policy impact of research is becoming increasingly important. In countries like the UK, the Research Excellence Framework ensures that incentives are tied to demonstrating impact. While we aren't there yet in India, spaces such as IIHS and CPR India are increasingly contributing to conversations at the research-policy interface. Podcast on research impact In this context,   I enjoyed listening to ANU's recent Policy Forum Podcast episode on policy impact , which touches upon research impact, questioning one's motives for doing research, and how to engage in meaningful research despite the neoliberalisation of higher education. Prof Mark Reed , Professor of Social Innovation at Newcastle University and a research impact wiz, talks of his experiences of trying to ‘make a difference’. Few things from the podcast that really spoke to me: Need more thought at proposal writing stages to consider the dangers of cobbling together ill-suited research/policy/pr

Link Pack #12: Three papers on barriers to adaptation

I recently came across three papers on adaptation barriers which are a back and forth between some authors in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research. Although focussed on adaptation barriers in the forestry sector, the points they make are quite interesting for climate change researchers in general. Williamson and Nelson 2017 : Talk of 3 types of barriers - harmoninsation barriers, enabling barriers, and implementation barriers in the context of the forestry sector. The paper's acknowledgement of the intersecting, subjective, and dynamic nature of barriers is particularly welcome and something I've been trying to articulate in the context of adaptation in Indian agriculture .  Harmonization barriers pertain to differences between adaptation and mitigation in pre-existing frames and beliefs. Enabling barriers are psychological and institutional in nature. Implementation barriers include capacity deficits (e.g.,  funding limits, science and knowledge deficits regarding b

Link Pack #11: Deep Work, Mindfulness and a Paper on Caste

Paper:  The inimitable David Mosse recently wrote a paper in World Development called  Caste and development: Contemporary perspectives on a structure of discrimination and advantage . It is an important paper that looks at caste in its various dimensions—economic divisions based on occupation, political through systems of dominance and rule, and ideological which is closely linked to ideas of purity and impurity. I particularly enjoyed Mosse's review of the implications of caste on economic inequality, where he cites literature from rural India's longitudinal village studies as well as assessment of public services delivery by development economists. However, I missed a discussion on sub-caste differences that goes beyond Dailts vs. the rest (to be fair they are alluded to but not detailed). As recent work shows, understanding intra-caste inequalities is critical  but does not receive as much attention as commonly stated hierarchies of ST/SC/OBC/General do. Mosse also mak