GDI Lecture with Prof Lyla Mehta: The politics of climate change, uncertainty and transformation in marginal environments
|Starts:||17:00 4 Mar 2020|
|Ends:||18:30 4 Mar 2020|
|What is it:||Lecture|
|Organiser:||Global Development Institute|
|Who is it for:||University staff, External researchers, Adults, Alumni, Current University students, General public, Post 16|
The scale and impacts of climate change remain deeply uncertain. This is particularly true at the local level, where climate related uncertainties combined with unequal capitalist growth trajectories often exacerbate social and political inequities and the vulnerabilities of marginalised communities. Policy makers and scientists tend to draw on quantitative assessments, models and scenario building to understand and capture uncertainty. But these are often disconnected from how local people – particularly those living at the margins – make sense of and cope with uncertainty. This paper focuses on diverse and contested framings of climate change and uncertainty in three sites in South Asia (dryland Kutch, the Sundarbans delta and coastal Mumbai). It looks at how uncertainty is understood and experienced from 'below' by the lived experiences of local people, how it is conceptualised and represented from 'above' by climate scientists and experts and how the 'middle' - civil society, NGOs, academics - can potentially function as brokers between the 'below' and 'above'.
Uncertainty can be epistemic, ontological and linked to broader political economy conditions. Often official efforts to deal with uncertainty are highly policiticised and can increase the vulnerabilities of marginalised groups. While uncertainty can lead to anxieties about the future, I argue that uncertainty can also provide an opportunity to create transformation and structural change in marginal environments characterised by climate related uncertainties. I conclude with the idea of transformation as praxis – where the focus is on bottom-up change, the identity, wellbeing and agency of marginalised people and on ‘patches of transformation’ –– where hybrid and transformative alliances between local communities, NGOs, scientists and some state agencies are seeking socially just and ecologically sound alternatives based on local people’s plural understandings of transformative change.
The Global Development Lecture Series brings experts involved in global development to The University of Manchester. It aims to facilitate dialogue and discussion, providing a space for leading development thinkers to share their latest research and ideas.
Lectures are followed by an audience Q&A.
This event is open to members of the public and information on the accessibility of the venue is detailed at this link: https://www.accessable.co.uk/venues/roscoe_th-b
This event is not ticketed.
Organisation: Institute of Development Studies, UK
Biography: Lyla Mehta is a Professor at the Institute of Development Studies, UK, and a Visiting Professor at Noragric, Norwegian University of Life Sciences. She trained as a sociologist (University of Vienna) and has a Ph.d. in Development Studies (University of Sussex). She uses the case of water and sanitation to focus on the politics of scarcity, gender, human rights and access to resources , resource grabbing, power and policy processes in rural, peri urban and urban contexts. Her work also focuses on climate change and uncertainty and forced displacement. She has extensive research and field experience in India and southern Africa and is currently leading a Belmont/ Norface/ EU/ ISC project on ‘Transformations as praxis’ in South Asia. Her most recent book is Water, Food Security, Nutrition and Social Justice (Routledge, 2020).
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