The co-production of livelihoods and land use change: Case studies from South Africa and Ghana

Land use change and livelihood systems are often analyzed separately or with one “driving” the other. This “driver-feedback” relationship has been buttressed by approaches to social process that are often far too static. Actors are confronted with a bundle of choices that they must negotiate as they create pathways of change. These choices are always bound up in relations of power and the knowledges that are the conditions for and results of these relations. We suggest that land uses and livelihood are diVerent manifestations of the social processes by which individuals and groups negotiate the everyday conditions that shape their lives. We propose a framework that extends current understandings of the relationship between land use change and livelihoods by treating social relations of power as the entry point into this complex relationship. We underpin our arguments with empirical examples from South Africa and Ghana that locate power/knowledge relations in the context of social change in both study areas.

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