Translating Climate Change Adaptation to Local Context and Practice:The case of floods and landslides in Rwanda

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: The purpose of conducting this study was to analyze how forced expropriations and the demolitions of informal settlements could fall under the umbrella of “climate change adaptation” measures. Using an actor-network lens and translation theory, these translations are systematically broken down between three distinct levels: global discourse, national discourse, and implementation. As the idea of adaptation is translated between different actors and networks, it is given context-specific meanings that socially construct adaptation to fit the interests of said actor-networks. Who gets to decide how to problematize and subsequently implement adaptation depends entirely on the political process. The case of landslides and flooding in Rwanda was used to conduct a qualitative single case study to explore this phenomenon. Discourse analysis methods, with the help of Nvivo, were used to derive and analyze the data. Analysis of the data showed how both the global and the national networks use an applied view of adaptation to legitimize their power, reinforce one another, and assume roles as agenda-setting networks within their own respective spheres of influence. More importantly, the data revealed the power imbalances between the global and the national networks, as well as between the national network and the people being impacted by expropriations. These inequalities are what open up the spaces to allow human rights violations within the framework for climate change adaptation.

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