AbstractsGeography &GIS

Exploring the Existence of Women's Emotional Agency inClimate Change Livelihood Adaptation Strategies: A Case-study ofMaasai Women in Northern Tanzania

by Ashley N Doria

Institution: Ohio University
Year: 2015
Keywords: Gender Studies; Geography; Climate Change Livelihood Adaptation Strategies; Emotional Geographies; Feminist Political Ecology; Emotional Agency; Maasai Women
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2064635
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=ohiou1438952018


The subject of climate change and adaptation strategies in sub-Saharan Africa is at the forefront of the conversation of poverty and its close link to environmental degradation. Climate experts argue that poverty and natural resource based livelihoods coupled with the low adaptive capacities of those living in sub-Saharan Africa make the region one of the most vulnerable to environmental disruptions associated with climate change. Sub-Saharan African women are viewed as the most vulnerable to climate change because their daily reproductive responsibilities rely heavily on a changing physical environment. Current research into climate change and sub-Saharan African women has prioritized women’s short-term vulnerabilities and has, therefore, failed to explore the role of women’s agency in long-term livelihood adaptive strategies. This thesis will use a hybrid of feminist political ecology framework and emotional geographies to identify the manifestation of women’s emotional agency in climate change livelihood adaptation strategies. This thesis will highlight research gathered as part of a case study of Maasai women in Kirya sub-village of Northern Tanzania. Semi-structured interviews with the Maasai women of Kirya sub-village were used as the primary method of data collection. In Kirya sub-village the women’s adoption of irrigated farming practices, creation of their own small business, and the working of paid laborers to neighboring farms were the predominant methods of livelihood adaptation strategies. Emotional agency can be clearly identified throughout women’s participation in livelihood adaptation strategies. Emotions act as key motivators in navigation of space. Women in Kirya sub-village found motivation in the anger they experienced related to their inability to meet their reproductive responsibilities. This emotional agency ultimately manifested itself through women’s participation in livelihood adaptation strategies, as they are able to mobilize their anger to access new livelihoods. With effects of climate change on natural resource based livelihoods only expected to intensify it is essential that sub-Saharan African women be seen as active and motivated participants in livelihood adaptation strategies. Advisors/Committee Members: Wangui, Edna (Advisor).