Framing Community Resilience Through Mobility and Gender
Kei Otsuki*, Godfred Seidu Jasaw*, and Victor Lolig**
*Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), United Nations University, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
**University for Development Studies (UDS), Nyankpala Campus, Tamale, Ghana
The study of community resilience observed in times of crisis has conventionally focused on the impact of external forces on sedentary and homogeneous communities embedded in specific ecological systems. Drawing on a qualitative case study of a rural community in northern Ghana, this paper reports that, even in a community of mostly small farmers, diversifying livelihoods is apparently a main coping strategy. This paper focuses on two, often overlooked, dimensions that underpin this livelihood diversification: mobility and gender. Mobility, the first dimension, indicates the work of livelihoods that develop outside the community such as the so-called “settler farming,” a variety of trading activities, and outmigration to cities. Gender, the second dimension, indicates cropping and commercial activities carried out differently by men and women. Both mobility and gender characterize diverse livelihood strategies, which evolve by enriching social relationships and extending networks. This paper argues that shedding light on social relationships and networks helps us to reframe the concept of community resilience from the community-based capacity of self-organization to the capacity of a flexible social system for being able to mobilize a wide variety of resources. Future research agendas must advance this understanding of resource mobilization in relation to ecological resilience and must clarify its technological and policy implications.
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