political geography; geographies of violence; vulnerability; rural livelihoods; case study research; Nepal; capability; governable spaces; case study
Byrne Sarah, Nightingale Andrea, Korf Benedikt (2016), Making territory: War, post-war and the entangled scales of contested forest governance in mid-Western Nepal, in Development and Change
, 47(6), 1269-1293.
Byrne Sarah, Klem Bart (2015), Constructing legitimacy in post-war transition: The return of ‘normal’ politics in Nepal and Sri Lanka?, in Geoforum
, 66, 224-233.
Byrne Sarah (2014), A compromising consensus? Legitimising local government in post-conflict Nepal, in International Development Planning Review
, 36(4), 435-453.
Byrne Sarah (2012), Kompromisse und Tricks: die Kommunalpolitik in Nepals "Übergangsphase", in Südasien
, 32(3-4), n.a..
Kern Alice (2012), So nah, so fern: Marginalisierte Magar, in Südasien
, 32(3-4), n.a..
Korf Benedikt (2011), Resources, violence and the telluric geographies of small wars, in Progress in Human Geography
, 31(3), 385-399.
Korf Benedikt, Hagmann Tobias, Engeler Michelle (2010), The Geography of Warscape, in Third World Quarterly
, 31(3), 385-399.
Byrne Sarah, ‘From our side the rules are followed’: Authorising bureaucracy in Nepal’s ‘permanent transition.’, in Modern Asian Studies
The proposed research builds on a growing interdisciplinary interest in investigating the precarious conditions of everyday life in highly politicized settings of civil war, armed rebellion and insurgency. The proposed research intends to investigate the differentiated impacts of different forms of violence, coercion and control on rural livelihoods in Mid-Western Nepal during and after the People’s War that recently ended in a comprehensive peace agreement in November 2006. It will study how different social groups and individuals have navigated through the difficult social and political terrain that characterized rural Nepal during this period. The focus will be on a retrospective analysis of livelihood strategies during the ongoing People’s War, but attention will also be given to the precarious political transformation after the ceasefire agreement. In developing a fine-grained analysis of local livelihood strategies and the broader political dynamics, this study will provide a socially and spatially differentiated analysis of the impact of the Maoist insurgency and the current political transformation process on rural livelihoods in Nepal. Our expectation is that violence in its different guises does not only produce destructive and disempowering impacts for all actors, but also induces social and political transformation and provides opportunities for certain groups and individuals while hampering or restraining others. We also expect that the complex entanglement of violence, fear and vulnerability that penetrate rural livelihoods partly preceded the Maoist insurgency in the form of structural violence.Field research will be conducted in two study sites in Mid-Western Nepal. Three core concepts guide the investigation: (1) governable spaces describe the social figurations of powerful actor groups, their agendas, practices and the arenas where these practices play out. (2) Social navigation delimits the spaces for rural households to guide their livelihoods through the precarious terrain of governable spaces. (3) Livelihood arenas and arenas of violence become intertwined, thereby creating spaces of vulnerability and opportunity for different actors. The research is guided by five hypotheses: first, governable spaces are expected to be highly malleable and spatially differentiated. Second, the multiplicity of rules and rulers creates spatially and temporally dynamic configurations that provide room for social navigation for people living in rural communities. Third, these spaces for social navigation provide opportunities and threats, thereby forging ambivalent spaces of vulnerability. Fourth, spaces for navigation are likely to differ between various individuals in a given place and time, thereby re-forging social relations in rural communities. Fifth, as many people fled from their rural villages to urban areas, where they now live as internally displaced persons (IDPs), social relations with those who stayed in the rural areas has forged new multi-local networks. Field work is organized in three phases and different work packages and is implemented by a Swiss-Nepalese research team. The study will apply several qualitative research methods, including conflict analysis, actors mapping, semi-structured interviews, life histories, livelihood trajectories, critical incident analysis. The research is expected to inform Nepalese policy makers and international donors on the impact of the political transformation on rural livelihoods - an information that is essential for designing appropriate rural development policies and programmes that support political transformation and peace building in Nepal.