Social-ecological migration

Authors: Helen Adams*,
Topics: Migration, Sustainability Science, Environmental Science
Keywords: Migration, climate change, resilience,
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Cabinet Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The concept of resilience, the ability of systems to maintain fundamental characteristics despite shocks (or, put simply, the ability to bounce back) has become inextricably linked to discourses around migration under environmental change, due to the framing of migration as an effective adaptation to climate change. Resilience as a development objective has been criticised for its neoliberal foundations that shift responsibility of action from global and national level institutions to the exposed and vulnerable individual. This argument extends to the field of climate migration, where migration as an adaptation to climate change has been criticised for promoting precarious labour migration of an economically and socially disenfranchised population. In this paper we draw focus back to the core principles of building resilience from a social-ecological perspective and consider resilience as an analytical framework through which climate migration can be analysed, rather than an outcome of environmental migration in itself. In doing so are able to highlight new avenues for analysing and understanding climate migration, and migration in general, and show that systems perspectives on migration can be integrated with more critical, political economic analyses. By analysing migration from a social-ecological systems perspective we are also able to embed migration more effectively within social-ecological analysis of environmental change and natural resource management, a dimension of the system that has been less considered to date.

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