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Exploring the frontier of livelihoods research
de Haan, L.
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This article talks about the studies of livelihoods and its trajectories. The paper presents and looks at the difficulties preventing the study of livelihoods from becoming effective in contributing to poverty alleviation. In the last decade livelihoods approaches face two major challenges: 1) The problem of access, which prevents the conceptualization and understanding of poverty issues. Access is a problem of social power relations. 2) The problem of the relationship between access and decision-making. The paper explains that opportunities are based on social relations, institutions and organizations. These social relations exist within power dynamics that are important to acknowledge but are often overlooked and not considered. It is therefore important to use theoretical elements of development sociology and gender studies to consider issues of power. The paper reviews relevant concepts, strategies and styles and recommends an analytical and systematic comparison of livelihood decisions in different geographical, socio-economic, cultural and temporal contexts. Livelihood trajectories are recommended as the appropriate methodology to analyze these issues.