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Climate migration: A mobile idea

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Nanna K L Kaalund.

Since the mid-1980s, research into climate change’s influence on human migration has grown, attracting interest from academics in various disciplines, journalists, and professionals in NGOs and international organisations. At the highest-level, debates have focused on two issues with the idea of ‘climate migration’. First, its validity: does it designate actually-occurring phenomena? If so, how do we best identify the places and people affected, and what policies should we pursue? Second, its usefulness. Does discussing climate migration stimulate action on climate change, for example, or might it be a dangerous topic that risks stoking fears of invasion in countries where anti-immigrant sentiment is already rife? In this talk, I provide an overview of how these debates are playing out in France, where I have been conducting interviews for the past year. I explore how this idea has emerged and circulates within and across different networks of actors. I pay particular attention to the practices – quantification, case studies, expert auditions, report writing, actor-mapping exercises, storytelling – that contribute to the formulation and spread of ideas about climate migration, but may also involve limits to their further circulation.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group series.

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