In the 1990s a livelihood approach to poverty in Africa emerged, with an emphasis on agency as opposed to structure. Situated in an actor-oriented perspective, the livelihood approach focuses on (poor) individuals and households, aiming at a dynamic and holistic understanding of their actions. This chapter outlines the disciplinary roots of the livelihood approach and its modern articulations. It then argues that a new generation of livelihood studies is needed which politicizes issues of livelihood by putting more emphasis on the analysis of power relations, both on the micro and the meso/macro levels. In addition, the increasing multilocality of African livelihoods, associated with income diversification, multitasking and growing mobility, should be taken into account. The new multilocal networks of African livelihoods could constitute an important undercurrent for the strengthening of African development.

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Brill Publishers, Leiden
ISS Staff Group 0
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

de Haan, L. (2007). Studies in African livelihoods : current issues and future prospects. In ISS Staff Group 0. Retrieved from