Homegardens dynamics and livelihood security in Yucatán, Mexico: a mixed methods approach

Castañeda Navarrete, Jennifer (2020) Homegardens dynamics and livelihood security in Yucatán, Mexico: a mixed methods approach. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Homegardens are complex agroforestry systems that combine vegetable and animal components in an ecological balance that has allowed them to survive for centuries. In Yucatán, Mexico, homegardens have played a key role in the livelihood security of rural families since pre-Hispanic times. Nonetheless, homegardens are dynamic, and their transformations have been accelerated since the 1980s, in the aftermath of the neoliberal reforms. In increasingly diversified and urbanised livelihoods, a variety of pathways have been observed, most of them diminishing and even undermining the contribution of homegardens to livelihood security.

The literature on homegardens is extensively focused on describing their properties and functions; however, there is scant knowledge about the socioeconomic determinants of homegardening patterns, their dynamics and about how homegardening interact with other livelihood strategies. This doctoral research aims to contribute to fill these research gaps. The thesis focuses on the study of the relationship between homegardening and livelihood security in the context of rural urbanisation. In doing this, the research followed a multisited case study design and a mixed methods approach, aiming to capture both spatial and temporal dimensions of rural urbanisation. The research took place in four communities located across the peri-urban – rural spectrum in Yucatán, Mexico.

The contribution of homegardening to livelihood security was found to decrease over time, although the pace of lessening varied across the peri-urban – rural spectrum. Alternative pathways were identified in addition to this dominant trend, where some households managed to maintain highly diverse homegardens. Household characteristics, such as wealth, the size of the household and ethnicity were found to influence these alternative pathways. Food security was identified as the main contribution of homegardening to livelihood security. The relationship between homegardening and household food security was observed to depend on homegarden diversity and its interaction with other livelihood sources, particularly social programmes and urban jobs. The rural-urban location of the household was also found to mediate these interactions. The findings shed light on how the relationship between homegardening and livelihood security works in an increasingly urbanised context, and on the complementarities and trade-offs in the interactions between homegardening and other livelihood strategies.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: Institute of Development Studies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labour > HD0101 Land use > HD1259 Land tenure > HD1336 Small holdings. Peasant proprietors. Parcellation
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labour > HD1401 Agricultural economics
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2020 13:13
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2020 13:13
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/92233

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