Understanding the relationship between environmental change and migration: The development of an effects framework based on the case of northern Ethiopia

Type

Journal Article

Author(s)

Morrissey, J. W.

Title

Understanding the relationship between environmental change and migration: The development of an effects framework based on the case of northern Ethiopia

Year

2013

Journal

Global Environmental Change

Vol (No), pp

23(6), 1501-1510

Abstract

Empirical work on the relationship between environmental stress and human migration has blossomed over the last 10 years. While such work has provided important insights into this relationship, there has been, to date, limited effort expended on generating a generalisable framework for apprehending such interactions. This paper seeks to address this deficit. Based on semi-structured interviews in two sending and four receiving areas in northern Ethiopia, it explores dominant mobility narratives among populations whose livelihoods are exposed to a range of environmental stresses. Analysis of these narratives corroborates findings from other empirical studies on the subject, highlighting how the impact of environmental stress on human mobility can only be understood within the context in which it occurs. To this end the paper attempts to generate a typology of interactions between environmental and non-environmental factors shaping mobility. The typology is based on four effects: additive, enabling, vulnerability and barrier effects. It is thought to provide a generalisable conceptual language which is capable of describing the role of environmental stress in mobility decisions and thereby offering a systematic means for thinking through the processes by which environmental stress impacts upon mobility. While the framework is hypothesised to be suitably generalisable to account for other contexts and other environmental stresses, this still needs to be tested. In addition it is acknowledged that the framework suffers from some major limitations. Most notable is reliance on a conceptually false distinction between environmental and non-environmental factors, and the inability to account for the non-environmental features which shape perceptions of migration.

Citation

Morrissey, J. W. (2013). Understanding the relationship between environmental change and migration: The development of an effects framework based on the case of northern Ethiopia. Global Environmental Change, 23(6), 1501-1510. URL : http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378013001271