Sustaining Hierarchies: A Cross-Level and Cross-Scale Analysis of Power, Politics, and Dominant Discourse in Adaptive Decision Making

Alicea Garcia, Petra Tschakert, Nana Afia Karikari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Climate change adaptation is a power-laden process that requires engagement and negotiation between people with diverse needs, interests, and levels of authority. Entrenched hierarchies in adaptation decision making influence what is considered legitimate policy and action, whose values are prioritized, and the interests of which actors are excluded. Through content and discourse analysis of interviews and focus group discussions with policymakers and decision makers across multiple spatial and jurisdictional levels, we illustrate how specific actors involved in adaptation efforts comprehend and engage with tensions, institutional politics, and community-level power dynamics, focusing on the experiences of rural farmers who are often sidelined in adaptation processes. We advance critical scholarship on the politics of adaptation and the politics of scale to demonstrate how power relations move within and across levels of decision making, by scrutinizing the discursive and material construction of scales and subjects. We argue that nuanced investigations of power and its (re)production across levels and scales are crucial to expose the underrepresentation of marginalized citizens in adaptation debates and to envision subversive political interventions toward climate justice. Key Words: agriculture, climate change adaptation, climate justice, decision making, Ghana.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-184
Number of pages21
JournalAnnals of the American Association of Geographers
Volume114
Issue number1
Early online date2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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