1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook on Livelihoods in the Global South

Edited By Fiona Nunan, Clare Barnes, Sukanya Krishnamurthy Copyright 2023
    548 Pages 17 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Routledge Handbook on Livelihoods in the Global South presents a unique, timely, comprehensive overview of livelihoods in low- and middle-income countries. Since their widespread adoption in the 1990s, livelihoods perspectives, frameworks and methods have influenced diverse areas of research, policy and practice.

    The concept of livelihoods reflects the complexity of strategies and practices used by individuals, households and communities to meet their needs and live their lives. The Handbook brings together insights and critical analysis from diverse approaches and experiences, learning from research and practice over the last 30 years. The Handbook comprises an introductory section on key concepts and frameworks, followed by five parts, on researching livelihoods, negotiating livelihoods, generating livelihoods, enabling livelihoods and contextualising livelihoods. The introduction provides readers with an appreciation of concepts researched and applied in the five parts, including chapters on vulnerability and resilience, social capital and networks, and institutions. Each part reflects the diversity of approaches taken to understanding livelihoods, whilst recognising commonalities, including the centrality of power in shaping, enabling and constraining livelihoods. The book also reflects diversity of context, including conflict, climate change and religion, as well as in generating livelihoods, through agriculture, small-scale mining and pastoralism. The aim of each chapter is to provide a critically informed introduction and overview of key concepts, issues and debates of relevance to the topic, with each chapter concluding with suggestions for further reading.

    It will be an essential resource to students, researchers and practitioners of international development and related fields. Researchers and practitioners will also benefit from the book's diverse disciplinary contributions and by the wide and contemporary coverage.


    1. Livelihoods in the Global South
    2. Fiona Nunan, Clare Barnes, Sukanya Krishnamurthy

    3. Livelihoods: concepts and frameworks
    4. Fiona Nunan

    5. The Capability Approach as an analytic lens for studying livelihoods
    6. Lucy Szaboova

    7. Livelihoods and institutions
    8. Luke Whaley

    9. Vulnerability and resilience
    10. Nathan Clay

    11. Social capital and social networks
    12. Itzel San Roman Pineda

    13. A rights-based approach for sustainable livelihoods
    14. Jae-Eun Noh

      Part i: Researching livelihoods: approaches and methods

    15. Critically understanding livelihoods in the Global South: researchers, research practices and power
    16. Sam Staddon

    17. Quantitative approaches to analyse rural livelihood strategies
    18. Solomon Zena Walelign, Xi Jiao and Carsten Smith-Hall

    19. Longitudinal research to understand the complexity of livelihoods
    20. Joan DeJaeghere

    21. The use of ethnography for livelihoods research
    22. Thaís de Carvalho

    23. Using participatory rural appraisal to research livelihoods
    24. Klara Fischer

    25. Using participatory video in researching livelihoods in the Global South: the why and wherefore
    26. Lara Bezzina

    27. Using participatory GPS methods to develop rich understandings of people’s diverse and complex livelihoods in the global South
    28. Nathan Salvidge


      Part ii: Negotiating livelihoods

    29. Power and livelihoods
    30. Enrico Michelutti

    31. Feminist political ecology
    32. Miriam Gay Antaki and Ana De Luca

    33. Democratic politics and livelihoods in Africa
    34. Jeremy Seekings

    35. Social accountability in Asia’s livelihoods: the role of sanctions and rewards
    36. Aries A. Arugay

    37. Advocating for livelihoods through Social Movements
    38. Stefan Rzedzian, Margherita Scazza and Elodie Santos Vera

    39. Education and livelihoods in the Global South
    40. Vikas Maniar and Meera Chandran

    41. Youth livelihoods: negotiating intergenerationality and responsibility
    42. Sukanya Krishnamurphy

    43. The governance and regulation of the informal economy: implications for livelihoods and decent work
    44. Julian Walker, Andrea Rigon and Braima Koroma

    45. Disability and sustainable livelihoods: towards inclusive community-based development
    46. David Cobley

      Part iii: Generating livelihoods

    47. Environmental income and rural livelihoods
    48. Carsten Smith-Hall, Xi Jiao and Solomon Zena Walelign

    49. Forests and livelihoods
    50. Clare Barnes

    51. Agricultural livelihoods, rural development policy and political ecologies of land and water: exploring new agrarian questions
    52. Cristián Alarcón, Johanna Bergman Lodin and Flora Hajdu

    53. Pastoralism and livelihoods in the Global South
    54. Lenyeletse Vincent Basupi

    55. Fisheries livelihoods
    56. Deo Namwira and Fiona Nunan

    57. Complexity and heterogeneity in the informal economy of waste: problems and prospects for organising and formalising
    58. Aman Luthra

    59. Planning for sustainable urban livelihoods in Africa
    60. Lauren Andres, Stuart Paul Denoon-Stevens, John R. Bryson, Hakeem Bakare and Lorena Melgaço

    61. Artisanal mining and livelihoods in the Global South
    62. Roy Maconachie

      Part iv: Enabling livelihoods

    63. Conceptualising migration and livelihoods: perspectives from the Global South
    64. Mariama Zaami

    65. International migration and experiences of Indian women migrants: a critical analysis of the Kafala system
    66. Jyoti Bania

    67. Remittances and economic development in the Global South
    68. Haruna Issahaku, Anthony Chiaraah and George Kwame Honya

    69. Mobile money, financial inclusion and livelihoods in the Global South
    70. Stanley Kojo Dary, Abdulai Adams, Shamsia Abdul-Wahab

    71. The role of microfinance in mediating livelihoods
    72. Karabi Bezboruah

    73. Global markets and southern livelihoods: exploring trans-scalar connections 
    74. Thaisa Comelli

    75. Contextualising urban transport systems and livelihoods in developing countries: the case of Bus Rapid Transit project
    76. Michael Poku-Boansi, Michael Osei Asibey and Richard Apatewen Azerigyik

      Part v: Contextualising livelihoods

    77. Livelihoods and social protection
    78. Leo de Haan

    79. Collective organisations: an introduction to their contributions to livelihoods in the Global South
    80. Molly Atkins

    81. Rebuilding livelihoods to reduce disaster vulnerabilities
    82. Gargi Sen, Vineetha Nalla and Nihal Ranjit

    83. Religion and livelihoods studies
    84. Emma Tomalin

    85. Climate change adaptation and agricultural livelihoods of smallholder farmers
    86. Issaka Kanton Osumanu

    87. Livelihoods and disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration: from security to inclusive development
    88. Henry Staples

    89. Livelihoods in conflict-affected settings
    90. Ibrahim Bangura

    91. Land tenure transformations in the Global South: privatisation, marketisation and dispossession in contemporary rural Asia

    Lam Minh Chau



    Fiona Nunan is Professor of Environment and Development, International Development Department, University of Birmingham.

    Clare Barnes is an Interdisciplinary Lecturer in Sustainable Livelihoods at the School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh.

    Sukanya Krishnamurthy is a Chancellors Fellow/Senior Lecturer at the School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh.

    This book addresses livelihoods and the creation and evolution of knowledge on livelihoods through the personhood of millions caught in complex interactions, confronting dynamic inequalities and norms of intellectual delegitimization. It helps researchers, students, practitioners and policy makers see how the latter is an outcome (though unintended) of the dominant development framing of livelihoods. The chapters in this volume equip them to pare given concepts and theories, and to construct their own analytical frameworks that make sense in the light of the multiple dimensions and complexity of livelihoods. For practitioners and researchers in the Global South geographically and heuristically, this book is a rich and timely input to enhance their cognition of power and diversity, democratic accountability and justice when problematizing livelihoods.  

    Dr. Rajeswari S. Raina, Professor, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Shiv Nadar University, India.

    Across nearly 50 contributions, this Handbook offers a comprehensive survey of the many dimensions of livelihoods research and practice. Rather than separating by sectors, livelihoods perspectives start with what people do and how they live, offering an integrative, holistic approach to development. From concepts to methods to practices and policies, this Handbook offers an excellent overview of ideas as well as practical applications across a huge array of themes. It is an essential guide for anyone interested in livelihoods and development in the Global South, whether students, field practitioners or policymakers.  

    Ian Scoones, Professor, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK.

    Development studies can be a fickle business: ‘buzzwords’ that promise to reframe theory and practice surge to prominence before going out of fashion, leaving proponents and projects stranded and the field in search of renewal from the next coming agenda. By insisting on the enduring relevance of livelihoods analysis to understanding and challenging problems of poverty and exclusion in the global South, this volume offers a welcome antidote to this endless cycle. The power of this move is in the simple assertion that development must be viewed – to a significant extent at least – as being primarily about people’s lived realities. The Handbook renders livelihoods analysis fit for purpose once more, over three decades after its arrival: scholarship from the global south is very well-represented and the strong focus on politics, via issues of democracy and accountability but also critical feminist perspectives and a strong engagement with power, is also very welcome. This is a deeply engaged Handbook, offering critical reflection but also clear practical guidance to those seeking to operationalise livelihoods research and analysis from a methodological perspective and to policy actors and practitioners aiming to support more relevant interventions on the ground.

    Samuel Hickey, Professor of Politics and Development, Global Development Institute, University of Manchester, and President of the UK Development Studies Association.