Everyday lives in the Maldives

Balancing environmental sustainability, economic development and livelihoods

Place, community and hope

Many Maldivian communities are experiencing economic, socio-cultural and environmental change.

Given these transformations in island-based lives and livelihoods, we are exploring how people’s understandings of home and place are shifting. In particular we ask: what are island-based communities trying to preserve and what are they allowing to change, or what they are unable to prevent changing?

International tourist resorts, which are situated on ‘uninhabited’ islands, sometimes in close proximity to island-based communities, play an important role in these transformations. This is because resorts are often important sources of local employment but can also come into conflict with communities over differing priorities for, and uses of, shared environmental resources.

In this project, we are especially interested in the kinds of day-to-day practices that individuals and groups deploy that allow communities to live with the uncertainly but not necessarily the stress of wider societal transformation. These ‘everyday practices of hope’ can be found in day-to-day ways of living that make places not only ‘viable’ or ‘liveable’ but also ones that can potentially thrive and flourish.