Planned relocation and everyday agency in low‐lying coastal villages in Fiji

Celia McMichael, Manasa Katonivualiku, Teresia Powell
Royal Geographical Society
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Relocation of communities is widely expected to be an adaptive response to sea‐level rise, albeit a last resort after exhausting other adaptation options. It is a phenomenon, however, from which there are few examples to learn. This paper examines relocation processes underway in three low‐lying coastal villages in Fiji, each affected by coastal erosion and flooding. Drawing on the concept of “everyday agency,” it considers how environmental changes and planned relocation initiatives are resisted, accommodated, or shaped through daily activities and decision‐making. For residents of these three villages, climate change adaptation is not only a matter of adapting to environmental changes, but a process of actively steering a way through unfolding dimensions of planned relocation. The findings respond to increasingly audible calls to recognise the agency of people living in climate‐vulnerable places, and to highlight everyday responses to climate impacts and adaptation initiatives.