Racialisation and the figure of the climate-change migrant

Andrew Baldwin
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This paper analyses the growing discourse on climate change and migration from the perspective of critical race theory. The main contention put forward is that the figure of the climate change migrant is racialised to the extent that it is made to bear racial connotations. The paper traces the racialisation of the figure of the climate-change migrant through three specific racial tropes evident in the discourse on climate-change and migration: naturalisation; the loss of political status; and ambiguity. The paper concludes with the observation that the racialisation of climate-change and migration discourse does not point to any sort of universal theory of racialisation pertinent to the discourse but, instead, reaffirms the notion that racialisation is a contingent phenomenon. The paper also calls for an interpretation of climate change that is sensitive to racialisation as a key social process in the configuration of climate-change and migration discourse.

Environment and Planning 
2013 Volume 45 (6) pages 1474 -1490