I am currently a PhD student in the Geography Department at the University of Cambridge, in the Geographies of Knowledge research group.
The objective of my PhD project is to understand how and why the ‘climate migrant’ label circulates within and across contemporary academic, media, policy-advice and policy-making circles, specifically across France and the Sahel. By looking at the ‘climate migrant’ label as a mobile object of study – embedded in documents, images, models and news stories that are carried across sites by actors and their communications – it posits that we can better understand how its meaning and applications are being negotiated, why it is successfully applied to certain people or situations but not others, and what implications this has for the people designated as ‘climate migrants’.
In practice, I combine in-depth interviews with academics, members of environmental and migration NGOs, policy-makers and journalists, with document analysis, a mixed-methods analysis of the written press, and cultural analysis of various representations of ‘climate migration’ in the shape of stories, models, metaphors, numbers, and images. I focus my attention on France, in relation with the Sahel, although relevant threads are ‘followed out’ in order to account for the external, globalised nature of the networks involved in climate migration debates.
The project will contribute to interdisciplinary literatures on ‘mobilities’ and the travel of ideas and policies. It will also inform our understanding of contemporary migrant labelling practices in context. Ultimately, the research will provide insight into the potential usefulness of the ‘climate migrant’ label in designating mobile people whose complex trajectories are irreducible to a single cause.