Governance & Translocal Resilience

Understanding the role of policies and stakeholders for building translocal resilience

This sub-project is interested in understanding the governance context of the climate-migration-adaptation nexus at the local, national, and international level, with a particular focus on "migration as adaptation." This research will not only create an understanding of the policy environment and its impact on social resilience, but will also help to guide policy dialogue and suggest how migration and translocality can be mainstreamed into climate change adaptation policies.

In the past few years, various scholars have flagged migration as a means to adaptation (Smit and McLeman, 2006; Adger et al, 2003; Tacoli, 2011; Barnett and O'Neill, 2012; Scheffran et al, 2012). They argue that migration enables people to diversify traditional agricultural-based livelihoods, allows the spreading of risk for the household, and the sending of remittances back to family members, which could, in turn, increase resilience back home.

Given these circumstances, policymakers should begin to recognize migration as a possible adaptation strategy. However, this faces obvious pitfalls. The principal obstacle revolves around the definition of adaptation. Often adaptation is executed in a very limited way, with current adaptations favoring 'hard' measures such as irrigation, sea walls, and dykes; and 'soft' ones that include information sharing, capacity building, and insurance. This is often compounded by the theory of 'sedentary bias' (Bakewell, 2008), which believes that migration is a negative phenomenon. This could have serious consequences if, indeed, climate changes landscapes to such a degree that agricultural-based livelihoods are no longer tenable. Therefore, it is essential to investigate policymakers' understanding of, and openness to, "migration as adaptation."

Aim: The aim of this sub-project will be to get to the bottom of the following broad research questions: How do climate change policies understand/address migration? How do migration policies understand/address climate change? How do higher-level policies impact lower-level climate change adaptation and/or migration decision making? Which policies impede or facilitate translocal social resilience?

Methods: This sub-project will carry out a detailed multi-level policy and stakeholder analysis in order to get a sense of this complex environment. This will revolve around qualitative research methods, with a particular focus on semi-structured interviews and text analysis.

This sub-project depends on others for a more informed analysis. For example, understanding risk, vulnerability & resilience as well as social translocal practices will help to identify translocal institutions and stakeholders which impact everyday governance processes. In addition, social network analysis will help untangle complex questions on translocal governance power relations.


Bonn Climate Change Conference, June 2014 (Source: TransRe/K. Ober)


For more information

» please contact Kayly Ober

Sponsored by



Who we are

We are a BMBF supported research group seeking to decipher the relationships between migration, translocality, and social resilience to climate change in Thailand. Our working group is based at the Department of Geography at the University of Bonn, Germany. Read more ...


เรา คือ กลุ่มวิจัยฯ ภายใต้การสนับสนุนของกระทรวงศึกษาและวิจัยแห่งสหพันธ์รัฐ (BMBF) มีความสนใจในการสร้างความเข้าใจเกี่ยวกับความสัมพันธ์ระหว่างการโยกย้ายถิ่นฐาน การเชื่อมโยงระหว่างพื้นที่ และความยืนหยัดทางสังคมจากการเปลี่ยนแปลงสภาพภูมิอากาศในประเทศไทย โดยทางกลุ่มวิจัยฯ เป็นส่วนหนึ่งของภาควิชาภูมิศาสตร์ มหาวิทยาลัยบอนน์ สหพันธ์สาธารณรัฐเยอรมนี รายละเอียดเพิ่มเติม ...




Project Video