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Livelihood Change in Rural Zimbabwe over 20 Years


  • Josphat Mushongah
  • Ian Scoones


This article explores the changing livelihood strategies among a group of rural households in southern Zimbabwe across 20 years. The study uses a combination of a household survey, in-depth biographical interviews and wealth ranking to examine livelihood change. The households studied in 1986--1987 were all traced two decades on, and the pattern of livelihood transitions was analysed. In addition, a set of ‘secondary households’, offshoots of the original ‘primary households’, were also traced, revealing important changes in livelihood opportunity for the next generation. The article reflects on the methodological challenges of exploring longitudinal livelihood change. In conclusion, the key dynamics of livelihood transitions over this period are highlighted, along with the implications these have for rural development and agrarian change.

Suggested Citation

  • Josphat Mushongah & Ian Scoones, 2012. "Livelihood Change in Rural Zimbabwe over 20 Years," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(9), pages 1241-1257, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:48:y:2012:i:9:p:1241-1257
    DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2012.671474

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Falconnier, Gatien N. & Descheemaeker, Katrien & Van Mourik, Thomas A. & Sanogo, Ousmane M. & Giller, Ken E., 2015. "Understanding farm trajectories and development pathways: Two decades of change in southern Mali," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 210-222.
    2. repec:eee:wdevel:v:97:y:2017:i:c:p:266-278 is not listed on IDEAS

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