The contested narratives of climate migration
2021-09-02, 15:30–17:30, Tent 4
Language: English

The public debate on the climate crisis is increasingly linked to the phenomenon of human mobility. When we read the newspaper, we learn about "millions of refugees" supposedly fleeing from the Global South to the Global North because of adverse effects of the climate crisis. This idea builds on the assumption that as soon as climate stressors pass a certain threshold they become direct drivers for out-migration. Most of the empirical research in the field cannot support such a climate migration storyline. Quite the opposite, many researchers agree that there is no linear or monocausal linkage between climate change and human mobilities. Mobility patterns can only be understood by looking at socio-political contexts and structural inequalities. The apocalyptic character of the dominant public narratives on "climate refugees" is problematic as it often depicts people on the move as "helpless victims" or "security threats".

In this workshop we want to take a closer look at human mobility in the context of the climate crisis. We will give you some insights into the state of research on how the climate crisis and patterns of human mobility are interrelated with some concrete examples from our own work (input). Besides, we invite you to critically discuss the language, narratives and imaginaries that exist to talk about people on the move. We will reflect on the public debate by analyzing newspaper articles (group work) and critically question the specific framings that are used and reproduced.


Short description

When we read the news, we learn about "millions of refugees" supposedly fleeing from the Global South to the Global North because of adverse effects of the climate crisis. Most research cannot support such a simplistic storyline – climate-related mobility patterns can only be understood by looking at socio-political contexts. We will give you some insights into the state of research and critically discuss news articles and the framings that are used to talk about people on the move.

Maximum number of participants

30

german Title

Die umkämpften Narrative der Klimamigration

Hanna Friedrich, Charlotte Wiederkehr, Juliane Groth and Laura Merz are part of MigSoKo research group at Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in Leipzig. They conduct research on the interlinkages between environmental change and human migration.

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