What the themes cover

This is a brief guide to the kind of topics covered by the themes. It doesn't include everything. Theme categories are necessarily quite broad and sometimes overlap. The specific content obviously varies according to the collections, and is described in detail in the individual theme pages for each collection.


includes crop varieties; traditional and modern practices; divisions of labour; changes and development policies (see also Development, Livestock)


includes roads (including the social effect of) and transport generally; isolation; access to and influence of TV/radio (see also Social change)

community activities

includes collective work; communal labour practices; some leisure activities; community support networks (see also Culture and customs, Festivals, Social institutions, Social relationships, Spiritual beliefs)


includes compensation, or attempts to gain compensation, for environmental pollution; for forced resettlement; for land lost to development and industry (See also Justice and crime, Resettlement)


includes political and ethnic conflict, as well as activism and protest by, for example, trade unions and environmental movements (See also History, Identity)

culture and customs

includes cultural traditions; initiation and other rituals; and local customs, cuisine, stories, songs and dance (See also Education, Festivals, Identity)


includes personal and community priorities for development; definitions of development; experience of actual projects; local and national policies; training and technical needs (see also Economics, Education, Employment and Income)


includes changes in cost of living and patterns of work; marketing; impact of external factors and cash economy (see also Development, Employment and Income)


includes formal and non-formal including traditional educational practices; access and availability; attitudes to education and its impact on individuals and communities (See also Development, Migration, Social Change, Social Relationships)

employment and income

includes casual labour; self-employment; local income opportunities; marketing; migrant labour (See also Agriculture, Development, Industry, Economics, Livelihood strategies, Social Change, Traditional skills)


includes environmental change, degradation and pollution; climate change; wildlife and plants (See also Agriculture, Environmental knowledge, Food security, Forestry, Land, Livestock)

environmental knowledge

includes biodiversity; hunting; use of land, local flora and fauna; some conservation and protection activities (See also Environment, Forestry, Land, Resettlement)

family life

includes family structure (joint, nuclear, polygamous); courtship and marriage customs, including dowry/bride-price; changes in attitude to marriage (See also Gender, Social relationships, Population)


includes local, national, religious and agricultural festivals; related music and dance; cultural history and change (See also Culture and custom, Identity)

food security

includes drought, famine and poverty; survival strategies (See also Agriculture, Environment)


includes afforestation and re-forestation; changes to resource base; ownership and rights; exploitation by outsiders and impact of roads; NGO, community and government policies; personal initiatives; Chipko movement (See also Development, Environment, Environmental knowledge)


includes working patterns and roles; relationships and responsibilities; women's status; customs and changes (See also Education, Family life, Health, Social change, Social relationships)


includes traditional and modern systems; changes in diet; disability; reproductive health; accessibility of services; occupational health risks; effect of industrial pollution (See also Environment, Gender, Industry, Population)


includes references to colonialism; ethnic and other conflicts/wars; political, cultural and local history (See also Conflict, Culture and custom, Migration, Resettlement)


includes references to religious, tribal, ethnic and social identity; caste; roles and responsibilities of a comunero; highlanders and lowlanders; identification with the land/location; conflict and clashes (See also Conflict, Culture and custom, History, Migration, Social Institutions, Spiritual beliefs)


includes mining (See also Development, Economics, Environment, Health, Social change)

justice and crime

includes traditional, local and national systems of justice; some activism (See also Compensation, Conflict, Environment, Land, Social institutions, Social change)


includes landlessness; land distribution and inheritance; attachment to the land including its social/spiritual value (See also Environmental knowledge, Resettlement, Spiritual beliefs)

livelihood strategies

includes sharecropping and unwaged work; barter systems; community support for the vulnerable (See also Economics, Employment and income, Social relationships)


includes herding and grazing practices; pasture control; diseases (natural and pollution-related); significance of livestock (See also Economics, Land)


includes seasonal and permanent; changes (in numbers and in reasons eg for education); history; social and economic impact of (See also Education, Employment and income, Resettlement, Social change)


includes national politics; local institutions/individuals and systems; trade unions; grassroots activity (see also History, Identity)


includes policies; changes in population size/density; attitudes to family planning (see also Gender, Health, Land)


includes displacement, mainly forced, as result of development policies; and for political and historical reasons, changing borders and conflict (see also Compensation, History, Land, Migration)

social change

includes as a result of education, migration, change or loss of occupation(s), and altered environment (See also Education, Employment and income, Gender, Identity, Migration, Social relationships)

social institutions

includes burial societies; self-help networks; social justice systems; community care networks; religious societies (See also Community activities, Identity, Social relationships; Spiritual beliefs)

social relationships

includes between generations; within communities; with "outsiders", lowlanders or those of other ethnic or social groups (See also History, Identity, Resettlement, Social change, Spiritual beliefs)

spiritual beliefs

includes religious practices and celebrations; traditional beliefs; spiritual significance of mountains; relationships with ancestors; traditional healing practices (See also Education, Festivals, Health, Land, Social institutions)



includes spiritual/religious tourism and pilgrimage; eco-tourism; local impact (See also Development)

traditional skills

includes artisan and craft skills; traditional healing practices (See also Economics, Health, Development)


includes floods; traditional and modern systems of irrigation and management; changes in supply including pollution and drought; spiritual significance of ponds, rivers etc (see also Environment)

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