University of Sussex
Bahadur,_Aditya_Vansh.pdf (2.74 MB)

Policy climates and climate policies: analysing the politics of building resilience to climate change

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posted on 2023-06-08, 17:30 authored by Aditya Vansh Bahadur
This thesis seeks to examine the politics of building resilience to climate change by analysing the manner in which policy contexts and initiatives to build climate change resilience interact. For analysis, the ‘policy context’ is broken into its three constituent parts- actors, policy spaces and discourses. This permits the addition of new knowledge on how discourses attached to resilience are dissonant with those prevailing in ossified policy environments in developing countries; the influence of actor networks, epistemic communities, knowledge intermediaries and policy entrepreneurs in helping climate change resilience gain traction in policy environments; and the dynamic interaction of interest, agendas and power within decision-making spaces attached to resilience-building processes. This analysis takes place by employing a case-study of a major, international climate change resilience initiative unfolding in two Indian cities. Using data gathered through a variety of rigorous qualitative research methods employed over 14 months of empirical inquiry the thesis highlights issues of politics and power to argue that they are significant determinants of processes to deal with climate impacts. More specifically, it expands current understandings of engaging with climate impacts by exposing gaps in resilience thinking and argues against a technocratic approach to designing and executing resilience policies. In doing so it also demonstrates that resilience, with its emphasis on systems thinking, dealing with uncertainty and community engagement brings new challenges for policy makers. As the study is located in the urban context, it highlights the manner in which fragmented urban policy environments, dense patterns of settlement in cities, urban livelihood patterns and prevailing epistemic cultures can pose obstacles for a policy initiative aimed at building resilience to climate change. Finally, the research underlines the importance of coupling resilience with local narratives of dealing with shocks and stresses, argues for genuine iteration and shared learning during decision-making and highlights the need to celebrate multiple visions of resilience. Findings from this research can help inform a growing number of policy initiatives aimed at deploying resilience to help those battling the exigencies of a changing climate in some of the world’s most vulnerable areas.


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  • Institute of Development Studies Theses

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  • doctoral

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  • eng


University of Sussex

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