NIFK18002U Interdisciplinary Approaches to Rural Livelihoods
MSc Programme in Agricultural Development
MSc Programme in Forests and Livelihoods (SUTROFOR)
MSc Programme in Sustainable Development in Agriculture (Agris Mundus)
The course is concerned with rural livelihoods in a developing country context. It is well-suited for students interested in developing quantitative and qualitative competencies in researching and analyzing rural livelihoods and their connections to wider societal and environmental processes. Students learn to work across disciplines and teaching is, to a high degree, research-based.
The focus is on how rural livelihoods are constructed when capital assets are used in activities that generate livelihood outcomes. The focus will be on the five capital asset categories; physical, financial, natural, social and human, with a particular emphasis on natural capital assets. The course will illustrate how external factors affect rural peoples’ access to natural resources and, thereby, their livelihood strategies and outcomes.
A key component of the course is its focus on both quantitative and qualitative tools for understanding and analyzing rural livelihoods. It thereby provides insights on how to critically assess and reflect on academic representations of livelihoods. This will help the student link local issues to wider developmental processes. The course emphasizes that students are enabled to reflect critically on the complexity of livelihoods and the methodologies used for understanding these.
The aim of the course is to provide participants with a thorough
understanding of rural livelihoods in a developing country context
and to enable them to critically reflect on methodological and
After completing the course the students should be able to:
- Ellis’ livelihoods framework’s components
- Linkages between Ellis’ livelihoods framework components
- Main criticisms of Ellis’ livelihoods framework
- New livelihoods perspectives development
- Global processes and their impingement on livelihood concerns at the local level
Themes of the course will be:
- Introduction to rural livelihoods and livelihoods framework
- Households and Communities
- Natural Resource Governance
- Income and Assets
- Livelihood Diversification
- Livelihoods dynamics
- Criticism of the livelihood framework
- Apply principles of livelihood analysis
- Analyse quantitative and qualitative household-level data
- Discuss approaches to livelihood analysis
- Solve case study problems on different aspects of the livelihoods framework
- Cooperate with fellow students on solving problems using different methodological approaches to livelihoods
Towards the end of the course, students should be able to critically reflect on and discuss outcomes and processes of rural livelihoods and different methodological and analytical strategies for understanding these.
The course curriculum consists of state-of-the-art book chapters and journal articles within the areas of the course that will be made available during the course.
Lecturer’s written feedback on online discussions, peer feedback on online discussions, lecturer’s written feedback on written assignments, lecturer’s oral feedback during in-class empirical exercises.
- 7,5 ECTS
- Type of assessment
- PortfolioThe assessment has three components: (i) continuous assessment of participation to online discussions (20% of final grade); (ii) Exam 1 (needs to be submitted by mid-December). It consists of an essay of 1000 words. Exam 1 counts 30% of the final grade and is to be done individually-; (iii) In Exam 2 students will be asked to individually solve a problem using a combination of qualitative and quantitative insights and write a 2000 words paper describing the solution. You will start working on Exam 2 from week 6 of the course and there will be weekly opportunities for asking questions and getting feedback. Exam 2 counts 50% of the final grade and is to be done individually. The final grade is to be set as a weighted average of the results from the part-assessments.
- All aids allowed
- Marking scale
- 7-point grading scale
- Censorship form
- No external censorship
one internal examiner
Re-examination will be an oral exam lasting 25-30 minutes. The students will be asked to read a scientific article and analyse it using a livelihoods lens. The articles will be send to the students 1 week prior to the re-examination.
Criteria for exam assesment
See description of 'Learning outcome'
- Class Instruction
- Practical exercises