Adaptation pathways have been conventionally viewed as an approach for planning and identifying different adaptation options and the ways in which they can be realized. However, there has been scant consideration of the wide diversity of cultural and social processes which shape how adaptation pathways emerge. We argue that a cultural lens sheds light on differential vulnerability and the processes that enable or hinder adaptation. A cultural lens focuses intrinsically on intersectional categories which can impact the adaptive agency or resilience of individuals, households, and communities. In particular, we need to examine how cultural beliefs, norms, and practices change over time, and are reflected in adaptation pathways since livelihoods do not remain the same over the life course. Additionally, taking a broader perspective by incorporating concepts from cognitive anthropology helps us understand motivations and choices which influence adaptation pathways.
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