Climate change and non-migration – exploring the role of place relations in rural and coastal Bangladesh

MM Golam Rabbani, Matthew Cotton, Richard Friend

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Of growing research and policy interest are the experiences of people living under conditions of climate change-induced environmental stress, that are either unable to migrate (sometimes described as a ‘trapped population’) or are seemingly unwilling to do so (sometimes described as the ‘voluntarily immobile’). This paper problematises and expands upon these binary categories: examining the complex dimensionality of non-migration as a form of place relations, explored through qualitative study of rural and coastal Bangladeshi communities. Through 60 semi-structured interviews of individuals from four communities in the Kalapara region, the analysis proffers four qualitatively derived and inter-related dimensions of voluntary and involuntary migration framed as a form of place relations. These four dimensions concern: (1) livelihood opportunities, (2) place obduracy, (3) risk perceptions, and (4) social-structural constraints; with the interplay between these elements explaining diverse non-migratory experiences. In our analysis ‘place obduracy’ is introduced as a concept to describe the differential speed of environmental change and socio-cultural adaptation responses to explain non-migratory experiences. Our discussion provides insight into how to best support non-migrant people’s adaptive capacity in the face of growing climate emergency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-122
Number of pages24
JournalPopulation and Environment
Issue number1-2
Early online date21 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to Bishawjit Mallick at the Technische Universitat Dresden (TUD), Dresden, Germany, for his valuable comments on the earlier versions of this manuscript. The authors are thankful to Mr. Rakibul Islam and others for their help during the fieldwork and to all the participants for sharing their experiences with the research team.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


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