Abstract

The remarkable progress in social science research on resettlement during the last decade is defined by the author in terms of (a) knowledge acquisition—the addition of considerable in-depth and ‘extensive’ new knowledge; (b) significant shifts in research trends—from academic inquiry to operational research, from description to prescription, from writing ethnographies of past cases to crafting forward-looking policy frameworks; and (c) development and diversification of research models—particularly an evolution from the stress-centred model to the impoverishment/re-establishment centred model in analysing resettlement. The impoverishment risks model consists of eight recurrent and interlinked processes. It reveals how multifaceted impoverishment caused by displacement occurs via induced landlessness, joblessness, homelessness, marginalization, increased morbidity, food insecurity, loss of access to common property and social disarticulation. The conceptual model of impoverishment through displacement also contains, in essence, the model for the positive re-establishment of those displaced, which requires turning the impoverishment model on its head. The author analyses in detail the drop and the reversal in the income curve of resettlers during displacement and relocation, and points out the financial premises for income recovery. The two key priorities recommended for future resettlement research are: (a) research on re-establishment experiences, and (b) research on the economics of displacement and recovery.

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