(Re)assembling the politics of climate migration

Authors: Anne Leonie Tuitjer*, University of Hannover
Topics: Cultural Geography
Keywords: Assemblage, Climate Migration
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 12:40 PM / 2:20 PM
Room: Evergreen, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Discourses on climate change and migration tend to frame the phenomenon as either a desperate measure of last resort, where people flee in masses from their home towns and villages or as a manageable and predictable strategy of individuals eager to adapt to changing environmental context (Myers & Kent, 1995; Black, 2001; Foresight, 2011, Piguet, 2013). The figure of the adaptive climate migrant has been exposed as a neo-liberal fantasy of a resilient individual capable of bearing the burden of climate change adaptation before (Felli, 2013; Evans & Reid, 2014; Baldwin & Bettini, 2017).

This paper engages with narratives of climate migration proposing to develop an alternative view on what is at stake politically in the (contested, complex, contingent) relationship between environmental disruptions and various forms of displacement (including notions of migration). Through a deleuzoguattarian vocabulary and six months of qualitative research in Bangkok, Thailand a view on climate change and displacement is developed that is sensitive towards the material and affective components of such displacement. The 2011 flood that inundated large parts of Bangkok is used as a case study to reflect on the politics of displacement. In particular art work and narrative interviews are drawn on to attend to a set of lines of flight that disrupt conventional discourses on climate migration. Such lines of flight, it is argued, provide a glimpse of open climate futures in which alternative ways of co-becoming in displacement are made possible.

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