Social production of vulnerability to climate change in the rural middle hills of Nepal

Prativa Sapkota, Rodney J. Keenan, Jana Axinja Paschen, Hemant R. Ojha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the social roots of rural communities' vulnerability to climate change, based on a field study conducted from 2012 to 2015 in the Panchkhal region of the Kavre district in the middle hills of Nepal. Drawing upon Bourdieu's concept ‘field of practice’, we identify three themes that are helpful to generate insights into the way vulnerability is socially produced in the hamlets of this region: social isolation, financial authority, and knowledge based supremacy exercised by the community elites and public officials. These factors operate to sustain social hierarchies and consequently constrain the long-term adaptability of marginalised groups. Three emergent adaptive strategies are also identified: human mobility, collective action, and occupational change. We conclude that vulnerability to the effects of climate change continues to be a largely socially produced phenomenon, shaped by complex interactions between social, cultural, economic and political processes happening in different places at different time scales.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-64
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


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