This study uses longitudinal semi-structured interview data to understand the role of social capital in environmental migration. I investigate how rural agricultural households displaced by the Belo Monte Dam in the Brazilian Amazon used ties to family and close friends in both the origin and destination during the course of migration, from pre-migration planning through post-migration livelihood reconstruction. I discover that the majority of households made strategic use of strong ties, relying on local and translocal social capital to help them find and purchase new property. Also, numerous households migrated to the same destinations as other displaced households and/or to places where family and friends had already lived beforehand. Maintaining strong ties in the destination was a priority for many households, as it facilitated the process of rebuilding livelihoods by providing social, financial, and emotional support. This study sheds light on how households make use of social networks during environmental migration, which can in turn help us better understand how social ties may shape migration decisions, capabilities, and destination choices among those displaced due to future environmental change.
The Strength of Near and Distant Ties: Social Capital, Environmental Change, and Migration in the Brazilian Amazon
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Heather Randell; The Strength of Near and Distant Ties: Social Capital, Environmental Change, and Migration in the Brazilian Amazon. Sociology of Development 1 December 2018; 4 (4): 394–416. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/sod.2018.4.4.394
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