Doing Participatory Research in a Patron-Client Society: Learning from Developing Multi-Scale Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for Farming Communities

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 18:00
Oral Presentation
Iqbal KHAN, Self Employed, Canada
Christian ROTH, Agricultural Systems Program CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Australia
Clemens GRUNBUHEL, Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand
In recent times, focus has been given more on Community Based Adaptation practices in understanding and addressing modern drivers, such as climate change and their impacts on local populations. Today the use of participatory methods when working in a local community is considered a must. The problem, in doing so, is with the notion of community which is practically in many societies not homogeneous. Rather, local rural communities are complex social systems, which include multi-layered hierarchies and patron-client socio-economic settings. This paper links the challenges and opportunities in practicing participatory climate change adaptation research in a patron-client social arrangement in Bangladesh - the outcomes of the project entitled ‘Developing multi-scale climate change adaptation strategies for farming communities in Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and India’. We examine experiences made in the participatory analysis of socio-ecological dynamics in the saline prone area of the Sundarbans, in the Khulna district of SW Bangladesh. In our discussion, we reflect on difficulties and options in administrating participatory socio-ecological research in a patron-client society to foster better involvement of farmer community.