Sebastian Forneck

Research themes
  • Land use and food security
  • Environmental and climate change
  • Social and Cultural Change and Adaptation
  • Ecosystem services
  • Agriculture, land use, climate change
  • Health
Research countries
  • India
Research projects

Scientific Assistant

ProciNut - Processing of Edible Insects for Improved Nutrition

(Link to Project)

Professional experience


International Association for Ladakh Studies


Bachelor of Arts - Social Work (University of Duisburg-Essen)

Master of Arts - Sociology (Bielefeld University)


Sociology, Social Anthropology

Funding institutions
Thesis title

(Re)Creating Home: Climate Variability, Food Security and the Social Construction of Home in Ladakh, India

Thesis abstract

In the small village of Zangla the everyday life of the people has changed tremendously during the last decades. Being one of the remotest parts of the low populated, high altitude, cold and arid desert of Ladakh in the north-western Himalayas of India, development projects arrived late. Since then the developmental changes have taken a fast pace. Technological advancements like road construction or governmental irrigation schemes, newly introduced varieties of food and the national food security act, but also new discourses on education or tourism have altered the way the former self-sufficient farmers live.

Development also affect the landscape of Zangla by reshaping it through new infrastructure, facilities and redesigning agricultural lands. Therefore developmental changes can - given the socio-material character of belonging, formed and procedural recreated by dynamic interactions of human and non-human actors – indirectly influence the belonging of an individual or a community to a place. Also the direct and indirect consequences of development like new job opportunities, different working patterns during fieldwork, or a shift in dietary alter the social life of the community. This can eventually create a feeling of displacement and estrangement. Maintaining and recreating home – defined as the belonging to a particular place, which contains aspects like security, comfort, and control, fulfils the wish for permanency, and allows the expression of locality – can play a central role in avoiding these severe consequences.

Little attention has been paid to the influences of development on these non-biophysical and non-economic aspects so far. Therefore the study will investigate the relation between the feeling of being at home in Zangla and its link to crucial developmental changes. Starting from the local perceptions of these changes and the influence on the everyday life of the villagers, it asks how home is socially constructed nowadays, and how development affects the feeling of being at home. It aims to define elements of home and to discover the differences and similarities of the individual notions of home in Zangla. The study also seeks to evaluate the influence home has on social cohesion and social resilience against negative impacts of development.

To achieve these aims a detailed insight into the everyday lifeworld as the contextual background is needed. Therefore an in-depth qualitative methodology, namely the Grounded Theory Methodology (GTM), is chosen. Guided by GTM’s claim of “everything is data” and taking into account the procedural character of research, a triangulation of methods as well as data sources - with a particular emphasis on interviews to explore the everyday lifeworld of the participants from scratch -, and a circulative strategy between gathering data and theory building will be used for the research.

Keywords: Social Constructivism, Food Security, Resilience, Home, Belonging, Zangskar, Zangla, Ladakh, Himalayas


Supervisors of
doctoral work
Advisor at ZEF

There are no publications of this person.

Additionals, Curriculum Vitae
and Downloads

Sebastian Forneck

Junior Researcher

Cultural and Political Change


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