Third-party funded project

New Regional Formations – Rapid Environmental Change and Migration in Coastal Regions of Ghana and Indonesia

Research Department: Regeneration of Cities and Towns

IRS Research Topic: New Vulnerabilities and Resilience Strategies New Social Practices Conceptual Approaches to Crisis and Resilience

Project Leader within IRS: Prof. Dr. Felicitas Hillmann

Project Team: Usha Ziegelmayer Giulia Borri Rueben Okine Laura Günther

Consortium: Universität Bremen (Coordination) Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen Leibniz Zentrum für Marine Tropenökologie, Bremen

Funding Organization: VolkswagenStiftung

Duration: 06/2015 - 12/2017

Küstengebiet
colorful_coastline_java
Landsubsidence
modern_semarang
NRF_Bilder2017_1
Environmental Change, Adaptation and Migration
Küstengebiet
colorful_coastline_java
Landsubsidence
modern_semarang
NRF_Bilder2017_1
Environmental Change, Adaptation and Migration

Coastal regions are and will continue to be strongly affected by mega trends such as environmental change and migration. Traditionally, internal migration originates from but also flows to coastal regions. This particularly applies to international migration as well. At the same time, coastal regions worldwide are strongly impacted by unfolding geomorphological, climatic and societal changes. It is probable that global warming and existing migration corridors will further accelerate environmental change and migration flows.

Current research in this field has shown that environmental factors alone do not explain the dynamics of migratory systems. As such, postulating a simple causal relationship between rising sea levels and increasing migration flows does not do justice to this complex research field. Instead, such dynamics are better understood by studying local and regional contexts, and by taking into consideration political, social, economic and cultural factors as well. This is the approach taken by this project. It examines local adaptive strategies and assesses to what extent they are linked to political discourses on the regional level. It further analyses in what respect local and systemic logics differ. It also asks what causes resilience-building and what crisis. The project's regional focus is manifested in its name: 'New Regional Formations'. It builds on an international comparison of two coastal regions (the city of Keta in eastern Ghana and the city of Semarang in northern Java, Indonesia). These regions were selected on the basis of pre-defined criteria (prolonged and severe environmental changes; strong population grow th). Comparing and contrasting the two regions reveals differences and similarities concerning the interrelation of environmental change and migration dynamics.

The IRS department on the Regeneration of Cities and Towns will oversee and run the 'Migrant trajectories' sub-project. It will focus on patterns and trajectories of migration, as these co-constitute 'regional formations'. In particular, it will examine key characteristics of migration in both coastal regions and identify its respective causes. Changing migration patterns are conceptualised as elements of wider societal transformations, which regions adapt to in different ways. The project will focus these regional contexts . Migrants mediate between different socio-spatial scales, and their actions contribute to a convergence of national and global migration pattern s. Likewise, migrants can proactively contribute to seemingly dangerous regions becoming decouple d. The project will afford attention to the way perceptions, narratives and environmental discourses re-produce assumptions about the benefits and risks of migration, particularly with regard to the diaspora and the integration of migrants into regional development agendas.

 

Photos: Felicitas Hillmann

Publications

Hillmann, F., Pahl, M., Rafflenbeul, B., & Sterly, H. (Eds.) (2015). Environmental Change, Adaptation and Migration: Bringing in the Region. Basingstoke ; New York: Palgrave Macmillan. DOI: 10.1057/9781137538918
Ziegelmayer, U. (2016). "Mein Haus liegt im Meer": Über den Zusammenhang von Umweltwandel und Migration im Südosten Ghanas. Südlink : Das Nord-Süd-Magazin von INKOTA, (175), 20-21.
Hillmann, F., Pahl, M., Rafflenbeul, B., & Sterly, H. (2015). Introduction: (Re-)locating the Nexus of Migration, Environmental Change and Adaptation. In F. Hillmann, M. Pahl, B. Rafflenbeul, & H. Sterly (Eds.), Environmental Change, Adaptation and Migration: Bringing in the Region (pp. 1-17). Basingstoke ; New York: Palgrave Macmillan. DOI: 10.1057/9781137538918_1
Hillmann, F., van Naerssen, T., & Spaan, E. (Eds.) (2018). Trajectories and Imaginaries in Migration: The Migrant Actor in Transnational Space. (Studies in Migration and Diaspora). London ; New York: Routledge.
Hillmann, F., Pahl, M., Rafflenbeul, B., & Sterly, H. (2015). Conclusion: Linking Migration, Environmental Change and Adaptation - Lessons Learnt. In F. Hillmann, M. Pahl, B. Rafflenbeul, & H. Sterly (Eds.), Environmental Change, Adaptation and Migration: Bringing in the Region (pp. 283-290). Basingstoke ; New York: Palgrave Macmillan. DOI: 10.1057/9781137538918_15
Hillmann, F., & Spaan, E. (2017). On the Regional Rootedness of Population Mobility and Environmental Change. Comparative Population Studies, (42), 25-54. DOI: 10.12765/CPoS-2017-06en
Hillmann, F., & Ziegelmayer, U. (2016). Environmental Change and Migration in Coastal Regions: Examples from Ghana and Indonesia. Die Erde, 147(2), 119-138. DOI: 10.12854/erde-147-9
Ziegelmayer, U. (2018). "Semarang is like sugar“: On the Complex Relation of Environmental Change and Migration. (Artec-Paper; No. 220). Bremen: Universität Bremen.