934311 Livelihood system dynamics in rural development (in Eng.)

Vorlesung und Seminar
Vortragende/r (Mitwirkende/r)
Hauser, Michael
Angeboten im Semester
Sommersemester 2024
Unterrichts-/ Lehrsprachen


Farmers in precarious conditions have a remarkable capacity for survival. This survival behaviour is reflected in the agricultural technologies they use, how they relate to neighbours and communities, and how they form political opinions about agriculture and food. Though sometimes tricky for researchers to parse, these livelihood factors greatly influence the transition readiness of people in complex environments. In other words, livelihood circumstances affect disadvantaged people in managing change to improve their wellbeing. What resources constitute the material, human and social foundation for survival? How can farmers and those depending on off-farm income be supported in improving wellbeing? How might a development intervention become workable for people, especially when considering risks and uncertainties that dominate human choices? This course focuses on the latest thinking on these questions, bringing together insights from system theory, biology, social sciences, and practical experiences in rural development. It offers students an in-depth perspective on how populations in the Global South manage livelihoods based on agriculture and natural resources. As part of that perspective, the course further introduces concepts that enable students to understand transformation processes in agriculture and food systems. This understanding is the basis for recognizing the barriers to change that must be overcome to ensure access to healthy foods, income and wellbeing.

Inhaltliche Voraussetzungen (erwartete Kenntnisse)

This course is the first out of three, offering students insights into the management of farm and food system transitions in complex environments of the global south. The other two courses are Facilitating change for sustainable development (934305) and Participatory methods in development research and practice (934317).


1. Describe concepts to understand human behaviour in complex environments.
2. Explain the value of systems approaches in understanding farm and food system changes.
3. Apply the livelihood system perspectives to a sector and case relevant to your discipline (e.g organic farming, agroforestry, horticulture, etc).
4. Debate critical lessons gained through a farm and food systems perspective, especially in view of enabling sustainability.
5. Propose applications of systemic perspectives when managing of farm and food system transitions.
6. Summarize the challenges and opportunities of using the livelihoods perspectives in the Global South.
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