Thinking of environmental migration through translocality and mobilities

Daniela Paredes Grijalva (Redakteur*in), Rachael Diniega (Redakteur*in)

Veröffentlichungen: Elektronische/multimediale VeröffentlichungWebpublikation


Millions of “climate refugees” fleeing drought on their way to Europe or Pacific islanders left with no sovereign territory as sea level rises. Does this sound familiar? Certainly such imagery representing the “human face of climate change” has been successful in gaining public attention to urge immediate action. At the same time, national security policymakers and think-tanks in the receiving countries tend to perceive such mass migration as a threat. Following this securitization logic, nation-states see the need to protect themselves against it.

Migration scholars have countered such “alarmists” by classifying the phenomenon as a routine and integral aspect of a complex web of migration experiences. (Non-)migration decisions range from forced to voluntary, and most movements initiated by environmental changes or disasters will be short-distance, temporary, or within countries. As framings of environmental migration have gained in fluidity and scope, the nuances have been illuminated further through multidisciplinary research spanning the social and natural sciences. We argue that environmental migration demands more refined attention, particularly from the viewpoint of policymaking, in order to move from a logic of protection against migrants to one of protecting them and their human rights.

Securitization paints a simplistic picture. We argue that two particular concepts--translocality and (im)mobility--point towards new directions in understanding the fabric of human-environment relations. We have both begun our doctoral projects researching different aspects of this issue in Morocco and Indonesia. In this essay, we set out to illustrate our preliminary findings on how to expand our conceptualization of environmental migration. Only by capturing the everyday yet complex realities of migrants themselves can we lay a foundation for expanding measures geared towards the protection of human rights that accurately address their situation.
Herausgeber (Verlag)Refugee Outreach & Research Network
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 30 Okt. 2020

ÖFOS 2012

  • 507002 Bevölkerungsgeographie
  • 504017 Kulturanthropologie