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.
-  L. L. Ching, S. Edwards, and N. El-Hage Scialabba, “Climate Change and Food Systems Resilience in Sub-Saharan Africa,” FAO, Rome, 2011.
-  B. Smit and J. Wandel, “Adaptation, adaptive capacity, and vulnerability,” Global Environmental Change, Vol.16, pp. 282-292, 2006.
-  F. Ellis, “Rural Livelihoods and Diversity in Developing Countries,” Oxford University Press, 2005.
-  R. Sabates-Wheeler, T. Mitchell, and F. Ellis, “Avoiding repetition: Time for CBA to engage with the livelihoods literature,” IDS Bulletin, Vol.39, pp. 53-59, 2008.
-  J. Songsore, “Regional Development in Ghana: The Theory and the Reality,” Woeli Publishing Services, 2011.
-  K. Geest, “North-south migration in Ghana: What role for the environment?” Int. Migration, Vol.49, pp. 69-94, 2011.
-  International Food Policy Research Institute, “Green Revolution: Curse or Blessing?” IFPRI, Washington DC, USA, 2002.
-  M. F. Olwig and K. V. Gough, “Basket weaving and social weaving: Young Ghanaian artisans’ mobilization of resources through mobil-ity in times of climate change,” Geoforum, Vol.45, pp. 168-177, 2013.
-  P. Chabal, U. Engel, and L. de Haan, “African Alternatives,” Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands, 2007.
-  D.-E. Amanor-Wilks, “Land, Labour and Gendered Livelihoods in a “Peasant” and a “Settler” Economy,” Feminist Africa, Vol.12, pp. 31-50, 2009.
-  M. Grosh and P. Glewwe, “Designing Household Survey Questionnaires for Developing Countries : Lessons from 15 Years of the Living Standards Measurement Study,” The World Bank, Washington DC, USA, 2005.
-  S. Wallman, “Eight London Households,” Tavistock, London, UK, 1984.
-  N. Long, “Development Sociology: Actor Perspectives,” Routledge, London, UK, 2001.
-  R. Emerson, R. Fretz, and L. Shaw, “Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes,” second edition, The University of Chicago Press, 2011.
-  S. Hoffman and A. Oliver-Smith, “Catastrophe & Culture: The Anthropology of Disaster,” School of American Research Press, 2002.
-  M. Archer, “Making our Way through the World: Human Reflexivity and Social Mobility,” Cambridge University Press, 2007.
-  T. Yarrow, “Life/history: Personal narratives of development amongst NGO workers and activists in Ghana,” Africa, Vol.78, pp. 334-58, 2008.
-  B. Kapferer, “Situations, crisis, and the anthropology of the concrete: The contribution of Max Gluckman,” in “The Manchester School: Practice and Ethnographic Praxis in Anthropology,” T. M. S. Evens and D. Handelman (Eds.), Berghahn Books, New York, USA, pp. 118-55, 2006.
-  “Encyclopedia Britanica online,”
http://global.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/149692/Dagomba [accessed July 8, 2014]
-  D. Aldrich, “Building Resilience: Social Capital in Post-Disaster Recovery,” The University of Chicago Press, 2012.
-  R. Sewornu, “The Fate of Settler Farmers in Contemporary Ghana,” Backgrounder 20,
Africa Portal:, http://www.africaportal.org/articles/2012/01/23/fate-settler-farmers-contemporary-ghana [accessed July 8, 2014]
-  F. Pichon, J. Uquillas, and J. Frechione, “Traditional and Modern Natural Resource Management in Latin America,” the University of Pittsburgh Press, 1999.
-  A. Dasgupta and A. Baschieri, “Vulnerability to climate change in rural Ghana: Mainstreaming climate change in poverty-reduction strategies,” Journal of Int. Development Vol.22, pp. 803-820, 2010.
-  M. Bruijn, R. van Dijk, and D. Foeken, “Mobile Africa: Changing Patterns of Movement in Africa and Beyond,” Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands, 2001.