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“How does the ownership of land affect household livelihood pathways under conditions of deagrarianization? ‘Hanging in’, ‘stepping up’ and ‘stepping out’ in two north Indian villages” – Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography

January 2017 


By Bill Pritchard, Mark Vicol and Rosemary Jones

“In rural parts of the global South, livelihoods are diversifying away from agriculture. Neverthe-less, agriculture typically still remains the backbone of rural life and is usually considered the prime source of economic security, social prestige and self-identity. The task of narrating these somewhat contradictory processes in a conceptually coherent fashion has proven a major challenge for research. This paper responds to this problem by deploying an adapted version ofAndrew Dorward’s schema of households ‘hanging in, stepping up or stepping out’ of their landed interests. Dorward’s middle-ground theory provides an appropriate analytical vehicle for capturing the vagaries and situated complexities of the land-livelihoods nexus. However the theory fails to fully appreciate the extent to which household livelihood decision making rests on complex entanglements that leverage land-based and nonfarm activities against one another. We demonstrate the critical importance of these processes through the results ofin-depth interviews with 32 households in two north Indian villages. These interviews lead us to propose that land factors in livelihood aspirations in three fundamental ways: an arena for interpenetrated agrarian and nonagrarian livelihood streams; a base for social reproduction;and a bulwark of food (and by extension, livelihood) security through own-productioncapabilities…” –  Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography

Read the full article from Singapore Journal of Tropical Agriculture.

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