1st Edition

The Political Ecology of Climate Change Adaptation Livelihoods, agrarian change and the conflicts of development

By Marcus Taylor Copyright 2015
    206 Pages
    by Routledge

    224 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides the first systematic critique of the concept of climate change adaptation within the field of international development. Drawing on a reworked political ecology framework, it argues that climate is not something ‘out there’ that we adapt to. Instead, it is part of the social and biophysical forces through which our lived environments are actively yet unevenly produced. From this original foundation, the book challenges us to rethink the concepts of climate change, vulnerability, resilience and adaptive capacity in transformed ways. With case studies drawn from Pakistan, India and Mongolia, it demonstrates concretely how climatic change emerges as a dynamic force in the ongoing transformation of contested rural landscapes. In crafting this synthesis, the book recalibrates the frameworks we use to envisage climatic change in the context of contemporary debates over development, livelihoods and poverty.

    With its unique theoretical contribution and case study material, this book will appeal to researchers and students in environmental studies, sociology, geography, politics and development studies.

    Preface: The Critique of Climate Change Adaptation  1. Climate Change and the Frontiers of Political Ecology  2. Socialising Climate  3. Making a World of Adaptation  4. Power, Inequality and Relational Vulnerability  5. Climate, Capital and Agrarian Transformations  6. Pakistan – Historicising Adaptation in the Indus Watershed  7. India – Water, Debt and Distress in the Deccan Plateau  8. Mongolia – Pastorialists, Resilience and Nomadic Capital  9. Conclusion: Adapting to a World of Adaptation


    Marcus Taylor is an Associate Professor in the Department of Global Development Studies and School of Environmental Studies at Queen’s University, Canada.

    "Embedding his narrative in powerful empirical studies of extreme-weather events in India, Pakistan, and the Mongolian steppes, Taylor produces the most incisive and sustained interrogation to date of the society/climate binary inherent in much that is written on climate-change adaptation. His own strategy of reading climate from a materialist point of view will no doubt provoke and enrich debates."

    Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago, USA

    "For those suspicious of global calls for "adapting" to climate change, Marcus Taylor provides ammunition and logic: an avalanche of detailed, intuitive, radical and compelling arguments and cases from around the world. For advocates of adaptation, he offers a grim and sobering reminder of the politically-loaded and careless violence of the international development machine."

    Paul Robbins, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

    "Taylor’s brilliant and pathbreaking new book explores the genealogy and construction of adaptation as a complex new field of knowledge and practice. It demonstrates how power, political economy and the production of vulnerability must be the foundations upon which new and radically transformative ideas and policies to combat climate change are constructed. A brave and important book."

    Michael Watts, University of California Berkeley, USA

    "This book provides a compelling answer for why it is that, although we know that climate change is a real and pressing issue, preciously little real change is taking place. It offers an incisive analysis of adaptation and what might be wrong with it."

    Erik Swyngedouw, University of Manchester, UK