21 Jan Geopolitics of fear and the emergence of ‘climate refugees’: imaginative geographies of climate change and displacements in Bangladesh
Geopolitics of fear and the emergence of ‘climate refugees’: imaginative geographies of climate change and displacements in Bangladesh
Journal of The Indian Ocean Region
Vol (No), pp
This paper is based on the premise that the science of climate change is fast becoming a powerful orthodoxy amongst many intellectuals, governments, corporations and non-government organisations, particularly in the global North. In recognising this dominant category in scholarly and political discourses, our key intention in this paper is not to deny or validate the premises and conclusions of climate change scientists in any essentialist manner, but to build on and develop the insights offered by number of recent studies by political geographers exploring the how and why of the discursive production of geographical knowledge (in plural) of climate change by various actors/agencies, in support of certain domestic as well as foreign policy agendas. We argue that it is the geopolitics of fear that appears to be dictating and driving the dominant climate change discourse both in and about Bangladesh. The paper first develops a theoretical perspective through which to analyse the imaginative geographies of climate change-induced displacements and their implications for Bangladesh, and its Indian Oceanic neighbourhood. Next, we focus on various facets of the geopolitics of fear and on some of the key sites where climate change knowledge production about Bangladesh is taking place. One of the ways in which climate change is folded into a discourse of fear (that, in turn, requires a geopolitical response) is by referencing the ‘problem’ of refugees. Penultimately, then, we then move on to deconstruct the official discourses and political speeches both within Bangladesh and its immediate neighbourhood in India, in order to reveal the underlying geopolitics of fear and boundary-reinforcing cartographic anxieties about climate change-induced displacements and migrations. We conclude the article by examining the prospects for counter-imaginative geographies of hope and the role they could possibly play in approaching the issue of climate change-induced migrations from the angle of human security and human rights of the socially disadvantaged, dispossessed and displaced in the global South.
Chaturvedi, S. and T. Doyle (2010). “Geopolitics of fear and the emergence of ‘climate refugees’: imaginative geographies of climate change and displacements in Bangladesh.” Journal of The Indian Ocean Region 6(2): 206-222.