Ties that bind: Local networks, communities and adaptive capacity in rural Ghana

Chaudhury, Abrar S., Thornton, Thomas F., Helfgott, Ariella, Ventresca, Marc and Sova, Chase (2017) Ties that bind: Local networks, communities and adaptive capacity in rural Ghana. Journal of Rural Studies, 53. pp. 214-228.

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Abstract

Current models of adaptation to climate change focus on common causes of vulnerability among individuals and communities in an attempt to improve their capacity to adapt. These models tend to neglect the impact on vulnerability of local relationships that include political and economic power structures. We use social network analysis to examine the connectivity and positions of vulnerable rural households and their capacity to adapt. We collected empirical data from a community of 58 smallholders in upper west Ghana on external relations with 'local actors' that are independent, operate beyond the community yet have direct relations with the community. These connections provide important resources and knowledge to build adaptive capacity that would not be generated from within the community. Our results highlight that certain external relations expose households to knowledge and other forms of capital, which in turn strengthen their ability to access and mobilise resources to respond to environmental change. However, not all external relations offer equal opportunities, which results in a stratified community and variation in the households’ capacity to adapt. The network approach also identifies points where local actors can link communities and households to remote agencies crucial for planning and implementing effective adaptation.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Strategy, Adaptation, Adaptive capacity, Rural agriculture, Climate change, Rural community, Social network analysis, Vulnerability
Subject(s): Strategy
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2017 12:06
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2017 12:06
Funders: N/A
URI: http://eureka.sbs.ox.ac.uk/id/eprint/6419

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