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Climate migration as an adaption strategy: de-securitizing climate-induced migration or making the unruly governable?

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>4/05/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Critical Studies on Security
Issue number2
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)180-195
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In the past, the debate on climate-induced migration (CM) was absorbed by the discussion for or against the figure of ‘climate refugees’. Alarmist tones often drawing on a security lexicon were prevalent in media and policy circuits, although fiercely contested by critical scholars. Recently, a mundane register characterized by milder tones has become prevalent. The focus on forced migration (as for climate refugees) has given way to the idea that migration can also represent an adaptation strategy. The security lexicon has been replaced by human security, resilience and adaptation. After detailing this profound shift, this article warns against the idea that it marks a ‘democratization’ of the debate. A closer look at the role of human security, resilience and adaptation reveals how the new register (similarly to the old one) is functional to imprinting biopolitical subjectivities onto the concerned populations and to inscribe their life into existing neoliberal relations. While the old register individuated and pathologized the sources of bad circulation (climate refugees), the new register aims at fostering individuals able to sustain good circulation and economic development (resilient migrant). I conclude that the shift of register does not imply an opening for more democratic approaches to CM.