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Unheard vulnerability discourses from Tarai-Madhesh, Nepal

 Synthesis diagram pointing out the multilevel effects of ALAN and the challenges of articulating organizational levels for a bottom-up approach of the dark ecological network

Un article de F Clément tiré de ses travaux avant son arrivée à Dynafor, illustrant l'intérêt de la méthode de vidéo participative pour analyser les représentations et savoirs locaux.

Clement and Sugden, 2021. Unheard vulnerability discourses from Tarai-Madhesh, Nepal.


Climate change has produced new knowledge production systems, heavily dominated by global discourses, institutions and values. Scholars have long called for integrating local knowledge in the design and implementation of climate change adaptation policy responses. Yet integrating local knowledges requires addressing issues related with power and authority, and critically examining which knowledge counts and at which scale. In this regard, a relatively under-explored research area is to assess how local representations and experiences of vulnerability fit with or disrupt dominant policy discourses. This is the focus of our study, conducted in the Tarai-Madhesh region of Nepal. We relied on an original methodology, combining participatory video research with a discourse analysis of national policy documents and of the films produced by farmers. Our analysis shows that farmers’ discourses appear on the surface congruent with some features of national policy story-lines. Yet their underlying narratives seriously challenge several core assumptions of national and international climate change adaptation policies, rooted in ecological modernization, technocentrism and neoliberalism. This seeming contradiction indicates both knowledge co-production and performance, underlying the need to closely understand the context in which local knowledges on climate change vulnerability are produced. We conclude with a few promising research areas to explore strategies to increase the authority of local knowledge into political arenas across scales.


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