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Abstract

The literature on climate change in Zimbabwe continues to grow, but literature specifically focusing on how people in rural communities are responding to it is still comparatively limited. Only a few scholars have sought to offer a reasonably detailed account of farmers’ concerns and adaptation from localised, qualitative case studies based on farmers’ narratives. As such, this article is empirically based, using mainly qualitative data from a broader research on understanding climate variability and livelihood adaptation conducted in Mutoko District in rural Zimbabwe. In doing so, the aim is not only to contribute empirical data to existing knowledge but also more importantly to theorise adaptation sociologically. The main argument is that farmers are reflexively engaged in various adaptive strategies predominantly at the household level not only to adapt to increasing climatic variability but also to simultaneously navigate a difficult socio-economic landscape. The adaptive strategies are underpinned by diverse structures, processes and conditions that are enabling and constraining. Hence adaptation is unfolding as a complex and reflexive process under specific socio-spatial conditions.

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