Workshop: Climate change, migration, neoliberalism

Workshop: Climate change, migration, neoliberalism

Location: Lund University, Lund, Sweden
Date: 11-12 September, 2014

Call for papers (DEADLINE: 29 June 2014)

The purpose of this workshop is to pose the question of neoliberalism to the phenomenon of climate change and migration. The central question the workshop will address is:

What is the relationship between neoliberal imaginaries, discourses and policy-making and the phenomenon of climate change-induced migration?

As scholarly and policy debates about the relationship between climate change and migration gather pace, very few scholars have sought to ask how this relation might be understood within the wider political economic context of neoliberalism. It is true that the phenomenon of climate change and migration is often posed as a problem of military security – the so-called migrant-as-threat thesis. However, the discourse on climate change and migration has undergone a significant transformation in recent years such that migration is now widely understood to be also a legitimate form of climate change adaptation rather than as purely a problem of geopolitical security.

Interesting in this respect is the way in which the phenomenon of climate change and migration is now increasingly framed as a problem of human security and economy, more so it seems, than one of military security. For example, when migration is said to be a legitimate form of climate change adaptation this is often justified in terms of the benefits of remittance economies, access to labour markets, circular migration, and risk management, i.e. mobilising the lexicon and policy strategies that characterise mainstream debates on migration in the last decade.

This suggests that at a minimum the discourse on climate change and migration is adopting the language of neoliberalism, but it also suggests that this discursive shift may come with various material effects, e.g. in terms of the institutions legitimated to govern climate migration, of the policies to which prospect climate migrant are subjected, of the forms of mobility fostered/curbed.

The purpose of this workshop is thus to examine how neoliberalism, climate change, and migration come together and with what sorts of effects.

The workshop welcomes papers both with a theoretical and an empirical focus. The workshop will take the form of keynote lectures, paper presentations and roundtable discussions.

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be sent to Giovanni Bettini ( by 29th June 2014.

Funds are available for travel and accommodation where appropriate.

The workshop is organized by Working Group III (Theory) of the COST Action IS1101: Climate change and migration: knowledge, law and policy, and theory.