Brendan Galipeau, one of those 'amazing students' to which I keep referring, recently defended his Master's thesis in Applied Anthropology. Here are his thesis and a PDF of his PPT presentation. The thesis abstract is below.
This ethnographic research examines socioeconomic vulnerabilities to resettlement from a large hydropower dam and agricultural commodification in a Tibetan village in Yunnan Province, Southwest China. After providing an initial background on the dynamics of the research region and hydrodevelopment on its rivers, the research framework of examining vulnerability through a lens of political ecology and local knowledge is outlined. Utilizing this framework, the socioeconomic strategies surrounding agriculture and commodified forest products within the study village are initially outlined through the use of oral histories, previous literature, and quantitative household survey data. After providing a detailed background on these income strategies, vulnerabilities to resettlement are examined through qualitative analysis of individual household interviews. This analysis shows that village households are highly reliant on the village’s specific location in order to collect the resources and pursue the agriculture that they do; making them vulnerable to future resettlement. The analysis also shows that in the opinions of villagers, a good standard of living is significantly defined by their ability to pursue specific economic strategies. Next, interview results are analyzed to show how agricultural commodification and avery high reliance on one government sponsored company to purchase crops has also made the village highly vulnerable economically. The thesis concludes with reflections on future hydrodevelopment and resettlement scenarios within the village, and provides recommendations to improve local level resilience and promote better capacity to adapt to change.
Brendan will be heading to the University of Hawai'i for his PhD. We'll be hearing from him again.
"Better once to see than many times to hear." - Tibetan proverb