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Title: Livelihoods under stress : household assets and responses to environmental change in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam
Author: Chun, Jane M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 4686
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis is a response to broad stroked claims that climate change and sea-level rise will cause mass displacements in areas such as the Mekong Delta. Instead, I argue for a more nuanced approach to understanding vulnerability and household response measures in contexts of environmental stress, and highlight the importance of deciphering differentiations of vulnerability across households of varying characteristics. I propose that in this way, by empirically understanding differentiated household vulnerabilities and response measures to stress rather than focusing on one type of stressor (environmental change) and response (migration), we would be better positioned to holistically address the root causes of vulnerability. To this end, I take a micro household-level approach, using an asset vulnerability framework, to assess the role of various household assets in mediating vulnerability and resilience in the rural Mekong Delta context. As a result, we are able to understand the interactions of numerous elements, including the effects of environmental stress and mobility decision-making processes, within the context of household asset profiles, which are in turn shaped by the broader political ecology. The main findings of this study furthermore include the ‘counterintuitive’ role of environmental stress, where it is found to be one of many stressors, often paling in comparison to the pressure of others. In the process of analysing resettlement outcomes, we encounter the process of vulnerability shifts, whereby some vulnerabilities are alleviated while others are increased as a result of resettlement. Finally, in terms of the link between environmental change and migration, a direct relationship is found to be tenuous. Instead, the key drivers, deterrents, and facilitators of migration are identified, pointing to the significance of assets and their role in shaping mobility decisions and outcomes for households. This leads us to not only think about those who move, but also those who do not have the option to move as a result of their poor asset profiles.
Supervisor: Farrar, Jeremy; Zetter, Roger Sponsor: Li Ka Shing Foundation Ltd ; Oxford University Clinical Research Unit ; Wellcome Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Disaster-induced displacement and resettlement ; Human development ; Migration ; Vulnerability ; Livelihoods ; Environmental Change ; Resettlement ; Vietnam