Who is the climate‐induced trapped figure?

Ayeb-Karlsson, Sonja, Baldwin, Andrew and Kniveton, Dominic, (2022). Who is the climate‐induced trapped figure?. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 13(6), e803-n/a

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  • Sub-type Journal article
    Author Ayeb-Karlsson, Sonja
    Baldwin, Andrew
    Kniveton, Dominic
    Title Who is the climate‐induced trapped figure?
    Appearing in Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change
    Volume 13
    Issue No. 6
    Publication Date 2022-10-23
    Place of Publication N/a
    Publisher John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
    Start page e803
    End page n/a
    Language eng
    Abstract Many will remember the 1990s alarmist narratives of how a human tide of up to a billion climate refugees would flood “our” borders by 2050. By 2011, a new character joined the discourse: the trapped figure. No longer would climatically vulnerable people be forced to move, they could also end up immobile. This review examines the narratives that surround the trapped figure. The article highlights the trapped figure's (i) characterisation, (ii) geography, and (iii) storytellers. The material includes the 2011 Foresight Report, 64 English peer-reviewed journal articles, and seven UNFCCC policy reports. The textual analysis furthers our understanding of the values that shape the meaning of the trapped figure within the wider discursive economy. Out of the 64 articles, 48 located the trapped figure in Asia, while 34 placed the figure in Africa. Meanwhile, the majority of articles—62 in total—were written by scholars based at European research institutes. The study shows that the trapped figure, much as the mythical climate refugee and migrant, is constructed as both a victim in need of rescuing and as an ambiguous security threat. It is ethically problematic that planned relocation was often put forward as an effective tool to “move” the figure out of harm's way. The review also found a range of binary opposites in the discourse on trapped populations, including those of order–disorder, freedom–unfreedom, and victim–savior. This suggests that however well-intentioned the liberal discourse on trapped populations appear, it remains embedded in power relations which demands for critical scrutiny.
    Copyright Holder The Authors
    Copyright Year 2022
    Copyright type Creative commons
    DOI 10.1002/wcc.803
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    Created: Sat, 07 Jan 2023, 01:22:16 JST by Aarti Basnyat on behalf of UNU EHS