Translocal social resilience dimensions of migration as adaptation to environmental change

Patrick Sakdapolrak (Corresponding author), Harald Sterly, Marion Borderon, Simon Alexander Bunchuay-Peth, Sopon Naruchaikusol, Kayly Ober, Luise Porst, Till Rockenbauch

Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed


There is growing recognition of the potential of migration to contribute to climate-change adaptation. Yet, there is limited evidence to what degree, under what conditions, for whom, and with which limitations this is effectively the case. We argue that this results from a lack of recognition and systematic incorporation of sociospatiality—the nested, networked, and intersectional nature of migration-as-adaptation. Our central objective is to utilize the translocal social-resilience approach to overcome these gaps, to identify processes and structures that shape the social resilience of translocal livelihood systems, and to illustrate the mechanisms behind the multiplicity of possible resilience outcomes. Translocal livelihood constellations anchored in rural Thailand as well as in domestic and international destinations of Thai migrants serve as illustrative empirical cases. Data were gathered through a multisited and mixed-methods research design. This paper highlights the role of the distinct but interlinked situations and operational logics at places of origin and destination, as well as the different positionalities and resulting vulnerabilities, roles, commitments, and practices of individuals and households with regard to resilience. Based on the empirical results, the paper distills a generalized typology of five broad categories of resilience outcomes, which explicitly considers sociospatiality. Our approach helps to grasp the complexity of migration-as-adaptation and to avoid simplistic conclusions about the benefits and costs of migration for adaptation—both of which are necessary for sound, evidence-based, migration-as-adaptation policymaking.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2206185120
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2024

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 105205 Climate change
  • 504021 Migration research
  • 509023 Development research


  • adaptation
  • climate mobilities
  • migration
  • translocality

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