The University of Arizona

The political economy of landslides and international aid relief: a qualitative investigation in rural Uganda

Kelly F Austin, Maria Theresa Mejia


This is a qualitative study of perspectives from community members on landslides in Bududa, Uganda. Interviews with community members reveal their perceptions of the causes, effects, and aid response to landslides. We employ a 'structural fieldwork' approach to explain community member's thoughts and experiences using critical macro-comparative perspectives relating to political ecology. This research brings attention to how large-scale unequal relationships in trade and international aid increase landslide vulnerability and there are ineffective relief efforts in a particular locale. Linking environmental degradation in Bududa to political, economic, and social factors provides a broader context in which to view risk from landslides in this community, as a critical case in demonstrating how economic globalization benefits some at the expense of others.

Keywords: Landslides, unequal exchange, disaster, NGOs, political economy

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