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University of East Anglia (2006)

Changing course : confronting institutional adaptation in a tropical semiarid landscape

Hotimsky, S

Titre : Changing course : confronting institutional adaptation in a tropical semiarid landscape

Auteur : Hotimsky, S

Université de soutenance : University of East Anglia

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2006

Résumé
This thesis investigates the process of institutional adaptation to climate variability. To date the dynamics of resource management institutions, including processes by which institutions emerge and adapt, has been a key understudied issue in studies of environmental change. The study explores these aspects of institutional adaptation in rural communities of peasant farmers in the tropical semiarid region of northeast brazil. The Brazilian semiarid is a relatively poor, rural economy with present day significant impacts from climatic extremes, namely drought events. Data were collected by semi-structured and unstructured interviews with households and with key informants, by document analysis and by employing the ethnographic technique of participant observation. The thesis finds that institutional adaptation is manifested more by social mechanisms that instigate collaborative relations and extended engagement of multiple stakeholders, rather than by alternatives that restrict deliberation and diverse participation. Empirical results suggest the importance of social networks, local collective action, and iterated processes of cooperation and social contestation for the emergence of positive adaptation strategies across scales. Policies could be designed to increase the restrained potential of local resource users to act as facilitators, change agents, or as contesters of decisions made by more influential actors for the sharing of water resources.

Mots clés : Environmental science, Health and environmental sciences

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