Edited by G. H. Fagan and Ronaldo Munck
Chapter 17: Requiem for the sustainable livelihoods approach?
The sustainable livelihoods approach (SLA) is predicated upon the idea that the ability of people to construct a livelihood strategy could be enabled or constrained by a variety of interlocking factors that could not be addressed in isolation. Despite having a hegemonic position within the field of rural development studies for a period, latterly the SLA came to be criticized from several perspectives. Its lack of attention to questions of wider power dynamics beyond the community was questioned. Livelihood options may be severely constrained or even imposed from beyond the community, especially when outsiders explicitly limit local livelihood options because of concerns around their normative suitability; the production of the plants that produce the opioids that fuel the global illicit drug trade is a case in point. This chapter argues that the solution to the poverty problematic requires abandoning or moving beyond the SLA, which falls short of prescribing structural change.
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