Everyday networks, politics, and inequalities in post-tsunami recovery : fisher livlihoods in south Sri Lanka
Mubarak, N. Kamakshi
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The aim of this thesis is to explore how livelihoods are recovering in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka through the lens of the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework and the social networks approach—methods of inquiry that have gained considerable impetus in livelihoods research. The study is conducted with reference to two tsunami-affected fisher villages in the Hambantota District, Southern Province. It employs a qualitative ethnographic methodology that examines narratives emerging from households, local officials of government and non-government organizations, office bearers of community-based organizations, local politicians, village leaders, and key informants. Focus is on evaluating how particular roles, activities, and behaviour are given importance by these groups in specific post-tsunami contexts and how these aspects relate to broader conceptualizations of social networks, informal politics, social inequality, and ethnographic research in South Asia. The findings support four major contributions to the literature. First, social networks are significant as an object of study and a method of inquiry in understanding livelihoods post-disaster. Second, paying heed to varied forms of informal politics is critical in post-disaster analyses. Third, the concept of intersectionality can extend and improve upon prevailing approaches to social inequality in disaster recovery. Fourth, ethnographic research is valuable for understanding everyday networks, informal politics, and change in South Asia. Collectively, these findings present a human geography of post-tsunami livelihoods in Sri Lanka, where networks, politics, and inequalities, which form an essential part of everyday livelihoods, have been reproduced in disaster recovery. The thesis constitutes a means of offering expertise in the sphere of development practice, highlighting internal differentiation in access to aid as a key issue that needs to be identified and systematically addressed by policymakers and practitioners.