Managing the maladaptive migrant: race, resilience and climate change

Andrew Baldwin (Durham University)

4 de março de 2013, 14h30-16h00

Sala 2, CES-Coimbra


This paper seeks to extend understanding of the politics of climate change by considering how the category of race is being rewritten within discourses on climate change-induced migration. Recent research on climate change-induced migration figures the so-called climate change-induced migrant as neither threat nor victim but as having the capacity to improve the resilience of socio-ecological systems at various scales. A good example of this framing is found in the UK Foresight report on Migration and Global Environmental Change and in the work of the International Organisation for Migration. Part of the appeal of this characterisation lies in the way migration as a positive adaptive response to climate change works against crude, determinist depictions of mass migration catalysing political violence or crossing international boundaries as stateless bodies. This paper however argues that this characterisation has the inadvertent effect of racialising the maladaptive migrant by constructing maladaptation in the language of abnormality, and as a consequence, sets up the possibility for intensive policing of those thought to be at risk of maladaptation.

Nota biográfica

Andrew Baldwin is a lecturer in human geography. Prior to joining Durham University, he was a lecturer in human geography at the University of Manchester (2009) and an assistant professor and postdoctoral research fellow at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario (2006-2008). Andrew received his doctorate from Carleton University in Ottawa in 2006, and was a consultant with the International Institute for Sustainable Development from 2000-2006.

Andrew’s research aims to understand how race and whiteness operate as key terms of reference in the expanding discourse on climate change and migration. As part of this work, Andrew chairs COST Action IS1101 Climate change and migration: knowledge, law and policy, and theory. Beyond this his research interests include race and environmental politics, critical race theory, whiteness, futurity, migration, environmental citizenship and political and cultural theory.


Nota: Atividade no âmbito do Núcleo de Estudos sobre Humanidades, Migrações e Estudos para a Paz (NHUMEP)