Resilience to Environmental Risks and the Role of Social Networks: A Case Study From Rural Thailand
The relations between social networks and migration are manifold. On the one hand, social networks are a precondition and conduit for migrants (e.g. chain migration). On the other hand, migration changes social structure in the areas of origin and destination. Local social ties are complemented by translocal ties that span across places and facilitate the access and the flow of resources, practices, information, and new ideas between places. While a growing number of scientific studies emphasize that translocal connectedness bears potential for resilience building, there is little evidence on which networks structures are conducive to social resilience and which might restrict it.
This study is considered to be a first attempt in helping to close this research gap. It investigates the influence of translocal social networks on the capacity of rural households to cope and adapt to environmental risks. Particular attention is placed on structural properties of networks and the nature of flows through the networks. This sub-project is part of the TransRe project, which seeks to provide a fresh perspective on the environment-migration nexus.
The aim of this sub-project is to understand the influence of translocal networks on the ability of households to respond to climatic risks and to innovate and explore new livelihood pathways. A particular focus lies on properties of the networks on the one hand, and on the nature of flows through the networks on the other. A formal social network perspective on translocal resilience in rural Thailand will be applied.
Methods and Tools
For assessing and analyzing the structure and dynamics of translocal social networks, methods from the Social Network Analysis (SNA) toolkit are applied. The particular focus lies on networks of social support and agricultural innovation, and the way in which they are changing and evolving in the face of migration. In order to gain a deeper understanding of how social structure relates with social resilience, quantitative approaches will be triangulated with qualitative and more participatory approaches to network analysis.
This study is located at the interface of other sub-projects within the TransRe project. It draws on insights on risk, vulnerability & resilience and supports a structural understanding of social translocal practices and the governance of translocal resilience.
For more information on the sub-project .
View and download a poster describing the project.
Rockenbauch, T. & P. Sakdapolrak (2017). Social networks and the resilience of rural communities in the Global South: a critical review and conceptual reflections, Ecology and Society 22 (1):1. Available here
Sakdapolrak, P., S. Naruchaikusol, K. Ober, S. A. Peth, L. Porst, T. Rockenbauch & V. Tolo (2016). Migration in a changing climate. Towards a translocal social resilience approach, Die Erde 147 (2), 81-94. Available here
Till Rockenbauch, Research Associate TransRe Project