Territory Stories

Sustainable desert livelihoods : a cross-cultural framework

Details:

Title

Sustainable desert livelihoods : a cross-cultural framework

Creator

LaFlamme, Michael

Collection

E-Publications; PublicationNT; E-Books; Desert Knowledge CRC Working Paper 69

Date

2010

Location

Alice Springs

Description

Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).

Notes

Includes bibliographical references. p.28-33.

Table of contents

Acknowledgements -- Executive summary -- Introduction: Sustaining biocultural diversity -- Sustaining biocultural diversity through livelihoods -- The Sustainable Livelihoods Framework -- A livelihood as a system -- Adapting the SLF to the desert -- Frameworks for sustaining desert diversity -- Desert factors -- System characteristics of desert livelihoods -- Characteristics of Aboriginal sustainability -- A Desert Livelihood Framework -- Desert assets/strategies/outcomes -- Desert rules and risk -- Rules -- Risks -- Interactions across levels and cultures -- Example: Biodiversity -- Desert influence -- Conclusion: A cross-cultural framework for desert sustainability -- References.

Language

English

Subject

Sustainable development -- Alice Springs

Publisher name

Desert Knowledge CRC

Place of publication

Alice Springs (N.T.)

Series

Desert Knowledge CRC Working Paper 69

Format

iv, 33 pages : colour illustrations ; 30 cm.

File type

application/pdf.

ISBN

9781741581591

ISSN

1833-7309

Copyright owner

Check within Publication or with content Publisher.

Parent handle

https://hdl.handle.net/10070/219618

Citation address

https://hdl.handle.net/10070/702826

Page content

Desert Knowledge CRC Working Paper 69: Michael LaFlamme Figure 3: The sustainable livelihood framework simplified to show system interactions Figure 3: The sustainable livelihood framework simplified to show system interactions The typical jobs model emphasises only the strategies element, while the intent of the SLF is to present livelihoods as systems with feedback to clarify how participants learn and respond to change (Pound et al. 2003; Davies et al. 2008). In Figure 3, I redraw and simplify the SLF to clarify the interactions in this system. Transforming structures and processes are simplified as rules, the context of vulnerability as risks, and influence is a two-way arrow. The typical jobs model emphasises only the strategies element, while the intent of the SLF is to present livelihoods as systems with feedback to clarify how participants learn and respond to change (Pound et al. 2003; Davies et al. 2008). In Figure 3, I redraw and simplify the SLF to clarify the interactions in this system. Transforming structures and processes are simplified as rules, the context of vulnerability as risks, and influence is a two-way arrow. Assets have many different definitions. Chambers originally used Sens concept of capability (Chambers & Conway 1991), but Scoones chose the narrower economic concept of capitals as a metaphor (1998, p. 7) for five classes of assets: human or individual; social, natural; physical; and financial. Others use the metaphor of assets as building blocks, with a livelihood constructed from a combination of these blocks. The number of asset classes is similarly arbitrary. For example, some frameworks include cultural assets (Bourdieu 1973, Throsby 1999) and some include intellectual assets (Marr 2005, Petty & Guthrie 2000). Assets have many different definitions. Chambers originally used Sens concept of capability (Chambers & Conway 1991), but Scoones chose the narrower economic concept of capitals as a metaphor (1998, p. 7) for five classes of assets: human or individual; social, natural; physical; and financial. Others use the metaphor of assets as building blocks, with a livelihood constructed from a combination of these blocks. The number of asset classes is similarly arbitrary. For example, some frameworks include cultural assets (Bourdieu 1973, Throsby 1999) and some include intellectual assets (Marr 2005, Petty & Guthrie 2000). The five capitals version of the SLF is widely used in international development (Hussein 2002). Using that metaphor, a mix of assets helps sustain a livelihood because assets can be converted. For example, owning cattle (natural) requires skill (human), equipment (physical), and grass (natural); and a pastoral livelihood provides a role (social) and income (financial). However, there are practical difficulties in measuring these interactions or conversions (Bourdieu 1986, Hunter 2004). In addition, many assets overlap categories and have unclear boundaries, there are significant cultural differences between what an asset is and how an asset is valued, and some assets are inherently difficult to define. The five capitals version of the SLF is widely used in international development (Hussein 2002). Using that metaphor, a mix of assets helps sustain a livelihood because assets can be converted. For example, owning cattle (natural) requires skill (human), equipment (physical), and grass (natural); and a pastoral livelihood provides a role (social) and income (financial). However, there are practical difficulties in measuring these interactions or conversions (Bourdieu 1986, Hunter 2004). In addition, many assets overlap categories and have unclear boundaries, there are significant cultural differences between what an asset is and how an asset is valued, and some assets are inherently difficult to define. Regardless how assets are defined, the SLF indicates that the way to develop sustainable livelihoods is for people to use their assets to design strategies whose outcomes build those assets, and to learn from their experience to influence rules to improve those strategies. The appropriate role for such a framework is to help people understand pathways to improve their livelihoods, such as systems for greater equity between rich and poor. Regardless how assets are defined, the SLF indicates that the way to develop sustainable livelihoods is for people to use their assets to design strategies whose outcomes build those assets, and to learn from their experience to influence rules to improve those strategies. The appropriate role for such a framework is to help people understand pathways to improve their livelihoods, such as systems for greater equity between rich and poor. In the international development arena, Chambers found that the SLF has primarily met the needs of development organisations for whom it was designed. Outcomes for poor people continue to be constrained by their unequal power relationships with such organisations (Chambers 2004, 2006). For this reasons, Chambers recommends that rich and poor learn and change side by side, beginning with self-analysis by those who are not poor: self-critical awareness, thinking through the effects of actions, and enabling those with power and wealth to experience being better off with less (Chambers 2004, p. 3). This type of systems thinking can be considered the main contribution of the sustainable livelihoods approach to poverty reduction. In the international development arena, Chambers found that the SLF has primarily met the needs of development organisations for whom it was designed. Outcomes for poor people continue to be constrained by their unequal power relationships with such organisations (Chambers 2004, 2006). For this reasons, Chambers recommends that rich and poor learn and change side by side, beginning with self-analysis by those who are not poor: self-critical awareness, thinking through the effects of actions, and enabling those with power and wealth to experience being better off with less (Chambers 2004, p. 3). This type of systems thinking can be considered the main contribution of the sustainable livelihoods approach to poverty reduction. A livelihood as a system A livelihood as a system The SLF includes the basic characteristics of a system: a boundary, a group of defined and related elements; rules that describe those interactions; and wholes, distinctive properties of a group of related elements that do not exist in each separately (Bertalanffy 1968). In Figure 4 I have redrawn the SLF in order to clarify the positive and negative feedback loops that enable such new properties to emerge as people learn through their livelihood activities, and use what they learn to modify their next set of The SLF includes the basic characteristics of a system: a boundary, a group of defined and related elements; rules that describe those interactions; and wholes, distinctive properties of a group of related elements that do not exist in each separately (Bertalanffy 1968). In Figure 4 I have redrawn the SLF in order to clarify the positive and negative feedback loops that enable such new properties to emerge as people learn through their livelihood activities, and use what they learn to modify their next set of Risks Strategies Assets Outcomes Rules Influence Sustainable Desert Livelihoods: A cross-cultural framework Desert Knowledge CRC 9


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