Between a rock and a hard place: Vulnerability and precarity in rural Nepal

Rigg, Jonathan, Oven, Katie, Basyal, Gopi Krishna and Lamichhane, Richa (2016) Between a rock and a hard place: Vulnerability and precarity in rural Nepal. Geoforum, 76. pp. 63-74. ISSN 0016-7185

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Drawing on a local study on Nepal’s Terai, this paper explores the nature of livelihood exposure to shocks and stresses among rural households in two Village Development Committees in Sunsari District. The primary data are derived from a 117 household survey supplemented by 19 purposefully sampled follow-up interviews. The paper opens with a discussion of the changing nature of exposure in the global South, distinguishing between inherited vulnerability and produced precarity. We then provide background to the research site and the research methods. In the core empirical part of the paper we unravel and distinguish between the livelihood threats and opportunities faced by households in the area and use these to reflect on the nature of ’exposure’, its historical origins and contemporary (re)production. The final part of the paper uses the Nepal case to build a more general argument, proposing that if we are to understand the puzzle of continued livelihood exposure and uncertainty in the context of aggregate economic expansion we need to identify and interrogate the processes that may, at the same time, produce wealth and reduce vulnerability, while also generating precarity.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Nepal, Livelihoods, Vulnerability, Precarity, Resilience
Subjects: F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
L700 Human and Social Geography
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2019 16:21
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 22:17

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