Skip to main content

The poorest and most vulnerable? On hazards, livelihoods and labelling of riverine communities in Bangladesh

Buy Article:

$51.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Abstract:

Within the field of hazard research, vulnerability studies have been central to inducing a shift in the perspective on disasters as being primarily inflicted by geophysical events to that of apprehending disasters as destructive outcomes of particular social as well as hazardous environmental conditions. However, the inherent tendency within vulnerability studies to classify certain areas or people as ‘vulnerable’ may in some cases also serve to reinforce popular and/or ingrained prejudices, negative stereotypes and dubious explanations of the living conditions and fate of specific communities that become so labelled. The riverbanks and islands in river courses of Bangladesh have long been portrayed as home to the ‘poorest’ and most vulnerable communities, the widespread assumption being that people would only live in such riverine environments because they have no other options. Drawing on an examination of existing literature on char settlements in Bangladesh and data from a field site in the Jamuna River, this paper argues that the prevailing perceptions and labelling of char dwellers as ‘vulnerable’ people is based on a far too simplistic understanding of both rural migration patterns and the livelihoods obtained in these riverine areas.

Keywords: Bangladesh; floods; natural hazards; poverty; riverbank erosion; vulnerability

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9493.2008.00357.x

Affiliations: Department of Geography, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

Publication date: 2009-03-01

  • Access Key
  • Free ContentFree content
  • Partial Free ContentPartial Free content
  • New ContentNew content
  • Open Access ContentOpen access content
  • Partial Open Access ContentPartial Open access content
  • Subscribed ContentSubscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed ContentPartial Subscribed content
  • Free Trial ContentFree trial content
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more