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A conceptual framework to assess vulnerability: application to global change stressors on South Indian farmers

Abstract : The objectives of the paper are (1) to apply Füssels (2007) conceptual framework of vulnerability to a concrete ongoing research and (2) to discuss on the resulting choice of an adequate vulnerability approach. The research aims at assessing the vulnerability of South Indian farmers to global change at two periods of time: medium term (2030-2040) to account for rapid global economic changes, and long term (2045-2065) to account for climate change and variability. The term vulnerability is de ned in so many ways that its use has become controversial. Füssel proposed an original conceptual framework of vulnerability based on a common and transversal terminology understandable whatever the scientific domain of concern. This conceptual framework relies on the description of six dimensions of the vulnerability concept. The rst four dimensions describes the vulnerable situation and the last two dimensions explain the factors of vulnerability. Füssel argues that with this set of dimensions, it is possible to class any conceptual approach of vulnerability found in the literature. After the six dimensions were adapted to South Indian farmers vulnerability, the use of a cross-scale integrated approach of vulnerability appears clearly as the most appropriate. Therefore, the use of the classical risk-hazard approach of vulnerability was dismissed as it focuses mainly on social systems and biophysical discrete and regional hazards. Our vulnerable situation ts with the so-called integrated approach of vulnerability. Integrated approaches are widely used in the context of global change and climate change. They can address continuous as well as discrete hazards and view the vulnerable system as a dynamic one. Among the integrated approaches is the one proposed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This approach has been enlarged and applied to global change hazards: climate change and variability plus global economic changes, as the impacts of the last ones are often more severe at least in the medium term (Eakin and Boj orquez-Tapia, 2008; Belliveau et al., 2006; ?). The combination of the three concepts of sensitivity, adaptive capacity and hazard exposure brings the dynamic dimension of vulnerability. As a conclusion, we found the Füssel's transversal terminology particularly functional in a context of multidisciplinary research where communication and cross-understanding are of major importance. Going through the description of the six dimensions was also useful to argue on the choice of an appropriate approach of vulnerability. Finally, and as highlighted by Füssel, this conceptual framework gives sense and scientific robustness to the IPCC integrated approach of vulnerability that is now more and more developed in the applied research community
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  • HAL Id : hal-02810741, version 1
  • PRODINRA : 43073


Robert Kast, Stéphanie Aulong. A conceptual framework to assess vulnerability: application to global change stressors on South Indian farmers. 2011. ⟨hal-02810741⟩



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