Sustainable Livelihoods and Rural Development: Book launches in Japan

Published on 23 November 2018

As part of book launches of the Japanese edition of Sustainable Livelihoods and Rural Development, STEPS Centre Director Ian Scoones will be giving two talks in Japan. The talks explore the linkages between livelihoods and agrarian political economy and the links between a politically-informed sustainable livelihoods approach and the SDGs.

Launch 1

Japanese Society for International Development conference
Sustainable Livelihoods and Agrarian Studies

23 to 24 November at Tsukuba University, Japan

The talk will make the case for the connection between two important perspectives in development studies – sustainable livelihoods thinking and agrarian studies, or agrarian political economy. A grounded political economy approach allows both for the detailed description of a diversity of livelihood strategies and an evaluation longer-term livelihood trajectories. It also focuses attention on the political and economic alliances being forged between different classes and social groups, and so structuring the wider agrarian political economy. It is this movement between the diverse specifics of particular livelihood contexts and the wider structural processes associated with a relational understanding of social dynamics that offers important insights into longer term trajectories of agrarian change and processes of social differentiation central to understanding development questions in rural areas.

Launch 2

Conference on Food, Agriculture and the SDGs
The Politics of Sustainability and Development – Envisioning Global Food and Agriculture Futures

26 November at 13.55 at the Institute of Developing Economies (IDE), JETRO Exhibition Hall, 5th Floor, Ark Mori Building, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Food and agriculture are central to many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Connecting the SDGs requires an integrated systems approach that starts with people’s own practices and knowledges, recognising diversity, difference and disagreement. The talk will introduce the ‘sustainable livelihoods approach’ as one way of addressing these challenges. With diverse livelihoods as a starting point, questions of class and social difference are central. Basic questions of political economy – who owns what, who gets what and what do they do with it – equally are core issues.

Negotiating pathways to sustainability is therefore not just a technocratic exercise to be led by experts, but one that is fundamentally political, and must involve deliberation and debate amongst diverse actors. If the challenges of the SDGs are to be met, a transformative approach is needed. The talk will explore the practical and policy challenges of seeking transformative solutions for sustainable food and agricultural systems through a politically-informed livelihoods approach.

Buy the book

Sustainable Livelihoods and Rural Development (English version)

Sustainable Livelihoods and Rural Development (Spanish version)

Sustainable Livelihoods and Rural Development (Japanese version)

Note: translations in Chinese, Italian and Portuguese will also be available soon.

Sussex Development Lecture

If you can’t make it to see Ian’s talks in Japan, he will give a Sussex Development Lecture on 29 March 2019, entitled The SDGs: a New Politics of Transformation (free entry, with video live-streamed and available afterwards).


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