Author: Dr Kevon Rhiney, Rutgers University, US

In this working paper I draw attention to the varying ways underlying forces of economic globalization and global environmental change have been threatening the livelihood security of farmers throughout the Caribbean. The paper also sheds light on some of the local-scale implications of these wider changes, and highlights the fact that the impacts are likely to produce uneven vulnerability outcomes mediated largely around differences in the social and economic landscapes in which individual farmers operate. While the paper draws strongly on the growing body of regional analyses of vulnerability and resilience, I also seek to move the discourse beyond the usual binary and mutually exclusive representations of these two concepts. Instead, I argue that farmers in the Caribbean are neither fully vulnerable nor fully resilient to these global forces. And in fact, their resilience may at times create the very conditions that engender new forms of vulnerability. The paper therefore calls for a critical rethinking (and even decentering) of these two dominant frameworks, if we are to arrive at a better understanding of the root causes and overarching forces shaping regional farmers’ insecurities to global change.

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