Barriers or enablers? Chiefs, elite capture, disasters, and resettlement in rural Malawi

Type

Journal Article

Author(s)

Kita, S. M.

Title

Barriers or enablers? Chiefs, elite capture, disasters, and resettlement in rural Malawi

Year

2018

Journal

Disasters

Vol (No), pp

0(0)

Abstract

Chiefs are at the centre of household and community development efforts in most low-income countries around the world. Yet, researchers and scholars have paid limited attention to the institution of chieftaincy and to understanding its role in the management of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. This paper draws on a micro ethnographic evaluation conducted in two predominantly rural districts of Malawi in southeast Africa to assess two different manifestations of elite control. In the first case, a resettlement programme was implemented where chiefs were co-opted and took the lead. In the second case, a food insecurity response programme was designed to exclude chiefs. The study finds that neither co-opting nor countering chiefs prevents elite capture. Rather, the majority of chiefs oscillate between malevolent and benevolent capture. The findings require that states focus on the cultural and political dimensions of rural life when designing climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction programmes.

Citation

Kita, S. M. (2018). “Barriers or enablers? Chiefs, elite capture, disasters, and resettlement in rural Malawi.” Disasters 0(0). URL : https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/disa.12295

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