Understanding and Preventing
Impoverishment from Displacement
Michel M. Cernea
T he remarkable progress in social science research on resettlement during the last decade will be defined in this chapter 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/ restoration' model in analysing resettlement.
The impoverishment risks/restoration model consists of eight recurrent and interlinked processes. It reveals how multifaceted impoverishment caused by displacement occurs via induced landlessness, joblessness, homelessness, marginalisation, increased morbidity, food insecurity, loss of access to common property and social disarticulation. The conceptual model of impoverishment through displacement also suggests, in nuce, the model for the positive reestablishment of those displaced, which requires turning the impoverishment model on its head. I will analyse in detail the sudden drop and the reversal in the income curve of resettlers during dis-