Understanding Livelihoods: Perspectives, Concepts and Theories

How do people make a living?

Livelihoods of the poor typically involve whole households engaging in a set of activities to make a living. This involves the transformation of some assets into goods or services and strategies for mitigating risk and vulnerability. It is critical that we understand how people make livelihoods, especially socially and politically under-resourced sections of society (or the poor). With a rapidly increasing population and diminishing per capita income and globalising markets, there is a huge inadequacy in livelihood markets in India. We need to look at livelihoods as a holistic system, putting the household as economic unit at the centre of our understanding. This course will undertake a multisector analysis and look beyond traditional frames of discourse in development and expand the notion of livelihoods. You will gain familiarity with different labour and commodity markets in which the poor make livelihoods. The course involves lectures, case studies, presentations and field work.