Research Handbook on Climate Change, Migration and the Law
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Research Handbook on Climate Change, Migration and the Law

Edited by Benoît Mayer and François Crépeau

This comprehensive Research Handbook provides an overview of the debates on how the law does, and could, relate to migration exacerbated by climate change. It contains conceptual chapters on the relationship between climate change, migration and the law, as well as doctrinal and prospective discussions regarding legal developments in different domestic contexts and in international governance.
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Chapter 4: Representation and misrepresentation of climate migrants

Carol Farbotko


How are ideas about ‘climate migration’ produced? In particular, in what ways do ideas about climate migration coalesce into ostensible truths in particular contexts? How are they also contested as misrepresentation, particularly among climate migrants themselves? This chapter examines ideas about climate migration, as well as the mobilities that such ideas purport to describe and govern, as performative and praxiographic. It examines a range of sometimes contradictory socio-ecological relations that are creating the conditions by which the realities of particular populations – both vulnerable and bureaucratic, mobile and governing – are experienced and understood. It concludes by observing that when the everyday lives and voiced concerns of migrants are apprehended, a more nuanced representation of the complex context of governance is possible. On the spectrum away from ‘misrepresentation’ and towards ‘representation’, however, it is not just complexity but also agency which must be taken into account.

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