Sustainable Livelihoods and Rural Development

By Ian Scoones  

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The message of Sustainable Livelihoods and Rural Development is clear: livelihood approaches are an essential lens to view questions of rural development, but these questions need to be situated in a better understanding of political economy. Ian Scoones delves into the history of livelihoods thinking, reflects on the links to studies of poverty and wellbeing and discusses the array of livelihood frameworks and their potentials and limitations.

This is a book in perfect balance: immensely useful; it is also challenging; theoretically perceptive, it is wonderfully readable; historically informed, it also looks forward, proposing agendas for scholars and professionals alike.

— Anthony Bebbington, Clark University and University of Manchester

In this uniquely comprehensive, lucid and valuable review of notions of sustainable livelihoods and their applications, Ian Scoones makes a potent argument for reinstating an expansive perspective on livelihoods, informed by the political economy of agrarian change.

— Henry Bernstein, University of London

This is an extraordinarily important book. Concise yet comprehensive, combining and drawing on the perspectives of many disciplines, accessible to all readers, professionally impeccable, and on top of all this, original in its analysis and extension into new fields, this book is a wonderful contribution to development thinking and action.

— Robert Chambers, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex

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  • Series Editors’ Foreword
  • Author’s Preface
  • Livelihoods Perspectives: A Brief History
  • Livelihoods, Poverty and Wellbeing
  • Livelihoods Frameworks and Beyond
  • Access and Control: Institutions, Organizations and Policy
  • Livelihoods, the Environment and Sustainability
  • Livelihoods and Political Economy
  • Asking the Right Questions: An Extended Livelihoods Approach
  • Methods for Livelihoods Analysis
  • Bringing Politics Back In: New Challenges for Livelihoods Perspectives
  • References
  • Index


  • Ian Scoones

    Ian Scoones is a professorial fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex and director of the ESRC STEPS Centre.

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