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Axelby, Richard and Bulgheroni, Maura (2021) 'Old Ways and New Routes: Climate threats and adaptive possibilities in the Indian Himalayas.' In: Natarajan, Nithya and Parsons, Laurie, (eds.), Climate Change in the Global Workplace: Labour, Adaptation and Resistance. London: Routledge. (Routledge Advances in Climate Change Research)

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Drawing on long-term ethnographic research, this chapter will document the ways in which climate change impacts on social, political, and economic landscapes in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. In the western Himalayas, altitude places limits on the possibilities for farming. With agriculture alone insufficient to secure household reproduction, many families from the Gaddi tribal community pursue livelihood strategies which combine small-scale agriculture with nomadic pastoralism. However, there are limits to adaptability – dependence on grazing resources and rain-fed irrigation together with heightened exposure to extreme weather events have left many Gaddi households acutely vulnerable to climate change. Unable to rely on the customary combination of agriculture and pastoralism, Gaddis are increasingly forced into new forms of labour. Building roads or working on hydro-projects is precarious, uncertain, and dangerous and, again, depends on leaving village homes to travel to remote mountain valleys and desolate Himalayan passes. In rural Himachal Pradesh, the impacts of climate change are differentiated by class, caste, and ethnicity – those insulated by wealth may opt to move out of agriculture. Meanwhile, Gaddi families – their long-standing agro-pastoralism occupying an increasingly precarious niche – are forced down new and precarious routes into an increasingly uncertain future.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Anthropology & Sociology
ISBN: 9780367422325
Copyright Statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Natarajan, Nithya and Parsons, Laurie, (eds.), Climate Change in the Global Workplace: Labour, Adaptation and Resistance (Routledge Advances in Climate Change
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2021 11:23
Funders: European Union, Economic and Social Research Council

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