Special Issue "Migration and Conflict in a Global Warming Era: A Political Understanding of Climate Change"

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760). This special issue belongs to the section "International Migration".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Silja Klepp
Website
Guest Editor
Kiel University Institute of Geography Cluster of Excellence "The Future Ocean"
Dr. Christiane Fröhlich
Website
Guest Editor
GIGA Institute of Middle East Studies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent years, we have witnessed a growing understanding of the effects of global warming, including insights on associated social phenomena as well as the multidimensional and far-reaching political effects of anthropogenic climate change, such as climate induced human mobility or climate-related conflicts over the distribution of and access to natural resources. The ensuing debates have yielded varying effects. Securitization discourses and anti-migration policies are gaining strength, mainly in the Global North, while empirical findings have shown that environmental migration entails mostly South–South movements, internal displacement, immobility, and trapped populations. Furthermore, environmental migration is often linked to intersectional discrimination. Conflicts linked to climate change are mostly, but not exclusively, non-violent, and climate change effects are not usually singular drivers of conflict, but inseparable from socio–political and economic dynamics.

For these reasons, the proposed Special Issue aims to draw attention to underrepresented research perspectives and to second order effects of the political dimensions of climate change. Second order effects can be observed in new configurations of North–South interactions and of international cooperation. Climate change politics and international cooperation are increasingly exploring the possibilities of climate change as a new tool of governance (Klepp and Chavez-Rodriguez 2018), investing growing funds in climate related interventions, such as adaptation and mitigation. The political implications of climate change policies, adaptation or mitigation interventions are often neither recognised nor transparent. Power relations on the ground and local knowledge are rarely taken into consideration. This can lead to shifting power relations, and in the worst case, it can weaken the most vulnerable. Here, we suggest to analyse the asymmetrical knowledge production, the hidden ontologies of climate interventions and the power–knowledge nexus in the field of climate science, international cooperation and climate finance.

In this Special Issue, we invite papers—particularly by scholars from the Global South— that explore the underrepresented aspects of the political dimensions of global warming. This includes, but is not limited to, post-colonial and decolonial perspectives on climate-related migration and conflict, intersectional approaches and gender dimensions, climate change politics as a new tool of governance, and STS (Science and Technology Studies) perspectives. We invite short papers (no more than 10–15 pages) that are based on empirical findings in different parts of the world and have a strong conceptual grounding.

The Special Issue will be completely open access, funded by the Knowledge Unlatched initiative (http://www.knowledgeunlatched.org).

Timeline

We invite you to submit abstracts to [email protected] and to [email protected] by the 31st of August 2018, the manuscripts must be completed and submitted the by the 28th of February 2019.

This Special Issue consits of research papers (see below) and of one artistic research project: Climate Justice in Kiribati.

Prof. Dr. Silja Klepp
Dr. Christiane Fröhlich
Guest Editors

Artistic Research: Photo installations by Hamburg photographer Barbara Dombrowski with texts by Kiel geographer Silja Klepp

In summer 2018 the photographer Barbara Dombrowski travelled to the South Pacific islands of
Kiribati and Rarotonga. The journey was both the conclusion of her photographic cycle "Tropic
Ice_Dialog between Places Affected by Climate Change" and the starting point for a cycle of
spectacular installations designed to draw attention to climate change and its consequences for
culture and native people on five continents.

Portrait Frau Portrait Mann

The images of the Kiribati archipelago are closely linked to the research of Silja Klepp, a geographer from Kiel. Silja Klepp has spent several long research stays there, where she focused on the social and cultural consequences of climate change and examines questions of climate migration and adaptation.

More information can be found at: http://www.marinesocialscience.uni-kiel.de/de/klimagerechtigkeit-in-kiribati

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Social Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • North-South relations
  • environmental migration
  • climate change politics
  • conflict
  • intersectionality
  • vulnerability

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Migration and Conflict in a Global Warming Era: A Political Understanding of Climate Change
Soc. Sci. 2020, 9(5), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9050078 - 13 May 2020
Abstract
This special issue explores underrepresented aspects of the political dimensions of global warming. It includes post- and decolonial perspectives on climate-related migration and conflict, intersectional approaches, and climate change politics as a new tool of governance. Its aim is to shed light on [...] Read more.
This special issue explores underrepresented aspects of the political dimensions of global warming. It includes post- and decolonial perspectives on climate-related migration and conflict, intersectional approaches, and climate change politics as a new tool of governance. Its aim is to shed light on the social phenomena associated with anthropogenic climate change. The different contributions aim to uncover its multidimensional and far-reaching political effects, including climate-induced migration movements and climate-related conflicts in different parts of the world. In doing so, the authors critically engage with securitising discourses and resulting anti-migration arguments and policies in the Global North. In this way, they identify and give a voice to alternative and hitherto underrepresented research and policy perspectives. Overall, the special issue aims to contribute to a critical and holistic approach to human mobility and conflict in the context of political and environmental crisis. Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Open AccessArticle
Coffee, Migration and Climatic Changes: Challenging Adaptation Dichotomic Narratives in a Transborder Region
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(12), 323; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8120323 - 25 Nov 2019
Abstract
The narratives of migration as adaptation and in situ adaptation are well established in mainstream adaptation policy and are usually presented as independent and opposing trends of action. A common and fundamental element of such narratives is the depoliticized conception of both migration [...] Read more.
The narratives of migration as adaptation and in situ adaptation are well established in mainstream adaptation policy and are usually presented as independent and opposing trends of action. A common and fundamental element of such narratives is the depoliticized conception of both migration and adaptation. Using a trans-scalar approach, we address the migration–coffee–climate change nexus: first at a regional scale, at the conflictive border of Guatemala–Mexico, to show the contradiction between the current Central American migratory crisis and the narrative of migration as adaptation; second, at a local scale and from an ethnographic perspective, we focus on the process of in situ adaptation in shade-grown coffee plots of smallholder coffee farmers in the Tacaná Volcano cross-border region, between Chiapas and Guatemala. We argue that the dichotomy “in situ adaptation” versus “migration as adaptation” is not useful to capture the intertwined and political nature of both narratives, as illustrated in the case of the renovation of smallholders’ coffee plots in a context of climatic changes. We provide elements to contribute towards the repolitization of adaptation from an integral perspective. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Keeping People in Place: Political Factors of (Im)mobility and Climate Change
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(8), 228; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8080228 - 29 Jul 2019
Abstract
While those ‘trapped’ or who choose to stay in areas affected by climate change represent a substantial policy issue, there only a small amount of empirical work specifically targeting such populations. The scant attention that is afforded to immobility often emphasizes financial constraints [...] Read more.
While those ‘trapped’ or who choose to stay in areas affected by climate change represent a substantial policy issue, there only a small amount of empirical work specifically targeting such populations. The scant attention that is afforded to immobility often emphasizes financial constraints as factors driving (involuntary) immobility. As an essential part of the mobility spectrum, the complexity of immobility in crisis, including its political dimensions, warrants thorough investigation. In response to these gaps, this contribution locates environmental immobility within mobilities studies, its conceptual complexities, and, finally, illustrates the importance of political factors in shaping (im)mobilities. The findings are based on semi-structured interviews conducted in two developing countries experiencing the impacts of climate change. We delve into the socio-cultural and economic nature of (im)mobilities as they interact with political forces, specifically by exploring international bilateral agreements (Senegal) and a relocation program (Vietnam). In political spaces that are dominated by a desire to limit human mobility and (re)produce stasis, we challenge traditional dichotomies between mobile/immobile and sedentary/migration polices by underlining how policy interventions can simultaneously promote mobility and immobility, demonstrating complex co-existing mobilities. Keeping people in place can, in fact, mean allowing the very same people to move. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Climate Change Migration and Displacement: Learning from Past Relocations in the Pacific
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(7), 218; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8070218 - 19 Jul 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
It has been projected that the single greatest impact of environmental changes will be on human migration and displacement. Migration has been extensively discussed and documented as an adaptation strategy in response to environmental changes, and more recently, to climate change. However, forced [...] Read more.
It has been projected that the single greatest impact of environmental changes will be on human migration and displacement. Migration has been extensively discussed and documented as an adaptation strategy in response to environmental changes, and more recently, to climate change. However, forced relocation will lead to the displacement of people, and although much has been written about it, very little has been documented from the Pacific Islands perspective, especially by communities that were forced to relocate as a result of colonialism and those that have been forced to migrate today as a result of climate change impacts. Using the Gilbertese resettlement from the Phoenix Islands to the Solomon Islands, in particular, Wagina Island in the 1960s as a case study of forced relocation and displacement of Pacific Islands people during the colonial period, this paper aims to underline some of the important lessons that can be learned from this historical case to inform the present and future challenges of climate change migration and displacement. Without dismissing migration as a coping strategy, the paper argues that the forced relocation of people from their home islands as a result of climate change will lead to displacement. It accentuates that in the case of Pacific Islands, forced relocation will lead to displacement if they are forced to leave their land because of their deep relationship and attachment to it. The paper also emphasizes the need to acknowledge and honor Pacific Islands’ voices and perceptions in discourses on climate change migration and displacement at national, regional and international forums. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Understanding the Disaster–Migration–Violent Conflict Nexus in a Warming World: The Importance of International Policy Interventions
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(6), 167; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8060167 - 31 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The importance and extent of some of the linkages between disasters, migration and violent conflict are not very well understood. There has been controversy in the empirical analytical literature both over core elements of the nexus and over the mechanisms driving it. One [...] Read more.
The importance and extent of some of the linkages between disasters, migration and violent conflict are not very well understood. There has been controversy in the empirical analytical literature both over core elements of the nexus and over the mechanisms driving it. One reason for the current state of the pertinent literature is the widespread neglect of international policy interventions in the policy fields of disaster risk reduction, conflict prevention and peacebuilding, migration management as well as humanitarian and development assistance. This contribution highlights the importance of international interventions in these fields with respect to elements of the nexus. Based on a brief review of the comparative empirical evidence concerning the disputed links between disasters, migration and violent conflict it demonstrates how international policy interventions are affecting them. The study concludes with a call for more research into the ways in which international policy interventions contribute to shaping the disaster–migration–violent conflict nexus, arguing that a better understanding would enhance the potential for better policies to address its negative consequences. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Moving People in a Changing Climate: Lessons from Two Case Studies in Fiji
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(5), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8050133 - 29 Apr 2019
Cited by 7
Abstract
High levels of vulnerability to climate change impacts are rendering some places uninhabitable. In Fiji, four communities have already initiated or completed the task of moving their homes and livelihoods to less exposed locations, with numerous more communities earmarked for future relocation. This [...] Read more.
High levels of vulnerability to climate change impacts are rendering some places uninhabitable. In Fiji, four communities have already initiated or completed the task of moving their homes and livelihoods to less exposed locations, with numerous more communities earmarked for future relocation. This paper documents people’s lived experiences in two relocated communities in Fiji—Denimanu and Vunidogoloa villages—and assesses the outcomes of the relocations on those directly affected. This study in particular seeks to identify to what extent livelihoods have been either positively or negatively affected by relocation, and whether these relocations have successfully reduced exposure to climate-related hazards. This study shows that planned climate-induced relocations have the potential to improve the livelihoods of affected communities, yet if these relocations are not managed and undertaken carefully, they can lead to unintended negative impacts, including exposure to other hazards. We find that inclusive community involvement in the planning process, regular and intentional monitoring and evaluation, and improving livelihoods through targeted livelihood planning should be accounted for in future relocations to ensure outcomes are beneficial and sustainable. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Imaginary Numbers of Climate Change Migrants?
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(5), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8050131 - 27 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Within the extensive scientific and policy discussions about climate change migrants, detailed analyses continue to highlight the lack of evidence thus far for climate change directly causing migration. To understand better how climate change might or might not lead to migration, this paper [...] Read more.
Within the extensive scientific and policy discussions about climate change migrants, detailed analyses continue to highlight the lack of evidence thus far for climate change directly causing migration. To understand better how climate change might or might not lead to migration, this paper explores possibilities for developing a robust, repeatable, and verifiable method to count or calculate the number of people migrating or not migrating due to climate change. The discussion starts by examining definitions of “climate change” and “migration”, then looking at how to determine numbers of climate change migrants based on those definitions. These points lead to descriptions of the subjectivity and arbitrariness of the decisions needed for counting or calculating climate change migrants and non-migrants. While the scientific study of working out numbers of climate change migrants and non-migrants is challenging and interesting, especially due to its complexity, changing baselines alongside legitimate concerns about necessary assumptions lead to questions regarding the usefulness of the calculations for policy and action. Ultimately, labelling, counting, and calculating climate change migrants and non-migrants depend on political choices, so any numbers reached might not be scientifically robust. Improved understanding of people’s motivations for migrating and not migrating under different circumstances, including under climate change and perceptions thereof, would be preferable to a starting point assuming that climate change inevitably causes migration. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Smallholder Telecoupling and Climate Governance in Jambi Province, Indonesia
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040115 - 10 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Current debates on climate change have led to an increased demand for sustainable commodities. Serving this demand, sustainability certification schemes and eco-friendly labels have become prominent mechanisms of climate governance. Smallholder farmers in Jambi province, Indonesia, producing palm oil and rubber as the [...] Read more.
Current debates on climate change have led to an increased demand for sustainable commodities. Serving this demand, sustainability certification schemes and eco-friendly labels have become prominent mechanisms of climate governance. Smallholder farmers in Jambi province, Indonesia, producing palm oil and rubber as the two dominant smallholder crops, are impacted by this distal demand. Zimmerer et al. (2018) suggest analyzing the potential sustainability in such a context with the multilevel smallholder telecoupling framework. Applying this framework to case studies from Jambi province, our first case reveals that smallholder certification for so-called sustainable palm oil does not necessarily influence smallholder towards more sustainable management practices. One explanation might be a discrepancy in sustainability perception between sender and receiver systems. The second case is the setup of an allegedly eco-friendly rubber plantation. The establishment of this model plantation is implemented by a transnational corporation in collaboration with a nature conservation organization, impacting the access to land for adjacent smallholders. The struggle over access to land is not only negotiated between smallholders and the corporation producing “eco-friendly” rubber but also between smallholders and big land mammals lacking access to land since the rubber plantation began to be established. We argue that the concept of sustainability as demanded by the receiving system does not mirror management practices in the sending system, even though the products reach the Global North as supposedly socially and climate-friendly. The smallholder telecoupling framework is helpful for assessing potential sustainability but can be expanded towards conflictive spillovers, second order effects, and a mismatch in sustainability perceptions in order to draw a more comprehensive picture. Full article
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