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Community-Based Ethnography (CBE) for Resilience Outcomes: A Practitioner Introduction

University of Arizona
University of Arizona
Year Published:
Resource Type:
Evaluations and Research

This brief proposes a methodological approach, Community-Based Ethnography (CBE), designed to identify long-term changes in local power relationships and the subsequent impacts on local resilience capacities. CBE was developed in the context of a study in the vulnerable char and haor regions of northern Bangladesh that recorded changes in social inclusion of the ultra-poor and marginalized groups generally, and more specifically in women’s status and empowerment.1 Power relationships among men and women and non-poor and poor are deeply embedded in the culture and social values and, although seldom publicly articulated, are practiced in the daily flow of social interaction. CBE structures the observation to the community-level exercise of power and provides a framework to then assesses how changes in power affect the capacity to manage the shocks and stresses. This brief is not a how-to guidebook, but rather an introduction to the principles and practices of CBE and its application to resilience programming.


This brief was made possible by a grant from the Implementer-Led Design, Evidence, Analysis and Learning (IDEAL) Activity. The IDEAL Small Grants Program is made possible by the generous support and contribution of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).