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Session Overview
RN35_02a: Migration Between Natural Disasters and Cultural Heritage
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Gordana Dragomir Vuksanovic, Novi Sad Business School
Location: BS.G.26
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Ground Floor Oxford Road

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Migration as an Adaptation Strategy for Climate Change: A Qualitative Study on the Perspectives of Moroccan Migrants Living in Belgium

Loubna Ou-Salah

University of Antwerp, Belgium

The impact of climate change on human migration is one of the most hotly debated aspects of climate impacts. As migration can be a way to reduce the population pressure in places that are sensitive to climate risks, there is growing consensus among researchers that migration is a potential adaptation strategy for environmental and climate change. The decision to migrate is influenced by individuals’ or families’ socioeconomic factors, social networks and the political, socio-economic context. Because climate shocks and stressors are affecting households by aggravating current problems, it is difficult to isolate environmental pressure from other factors. Environmental factors therefore put all other migration reasons under pressure, but little empirical research has been done into the ways in which they respond to each other. Most previous studies were mainly driven by policy and legal issues and none of them focuses on the migration trajectories of existing migrant groups living in Belgium. In this qualitative study, I will focus on the migration trajectories of Moroccan migrants (both oldcomers and newcomers) living in Belgium. Based on in-depth interviews and focus group discussions, I will explore to what extent migration trajectories to Belgium are used and seen as an adaptation strategy to deal with changes in the natural environment in Morocco and to what degree these factors are related to other migration reasons, the migration context and prevailing cultures of migration in Morocco.

The Influence Of Cultural Heritage On The Awareness Of Population Regarding Natural Disasters And Ways Of Facing Them

Gordana Dragomir Vuksanovic1, Imre Nagy2

1Novi Sad Business School, Serbia; 2University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Science

With the increased number of natural disasters also rises the recognition of their social, economic and ecological consequences. They are reflected not only in direct material and human casualties, but also in indirect consequences such as leaving a certain area. Whether people will continue living in an area endangered by a natural disaster depends on its previous preparation. The ability to spot dangers and face them is developed through informal and formal activities. The inherited patterns of behaviour determine the scope and quality of these activities.

In order to check the influence of cultural heritage on the awareness of the population regarding natural disasters, as well as the ways of facing them, the paper investigates the relationship of the population of the settlement Jaša Tomić towards floods. The research was conducted in 2018 with the use of the biographical method and the method of contents analysis. Four informants participated in the biographical interview, two of whom relocated from Jaša Tomić after the flood of 2005, while the other two stayed in this settlement. Contents analysis was applied to the texts published in newspapers in 2005 and 2018. The issues from March, April and May were singled out, which were the months when the danger from the flood is the greatest.

In addition to the empirical research, relevant statistical data were used in the paper.

According to the research results, the awareness of natural disasters as well as the ways of facing them originate in the relationship towards disasters that are found in the family, as well as the closer and wider social setting.

Keywords: flood, migration, cultural heritage, natural disaster, Jaša Tomić.

Climate Change, Subsistence Farming And Outmigration In Rural Zacatecas, Mexico

Kerstin Schmidt

Bielefeld University, Germany

Drawing on empirical research in the Mexican state of Zacatecas in 2008 and 2018, this paper offers an analysis of the relationship between climatic changes in the form of more frequent and more severe droughts, changes to the importance of subsistence farming for rural dwellers, and outmigration to the USA. It challenges the prevalent understanding that climate change leads to decreases in agricultural productivity, which in turn is negatively related to the volume of international migration. The decline of the volume of Mexico-US migration in the past decade – following stricter enforcement of border controls by the USA – coincides with periods of droughts and crop failures in Zacatecas. This development suggests that unfavourable yield output cannot necessarily be expected to entail higher rates of international migration. My qualitative data also show that the cultural meaning of subsistence farming can be more important than its function as a livelihood strategy. This is expressed in two ways. First, subsistence farming has different meanings during different stages of people’s lives. Many young people, particularly men, intend to migrate to the USA for work and have little interest in farming, while older people keep up the tradition of farming the land they inherited from their ancestors. Second, only households who rely on external sources of income for their basic needs – including remittances – can afford subsistence farming and take the risk of crop failures. Poorer households, in contrast, tend to stop farming when revenues cannot be guaranteed, and they might also be unable to afford international migration.

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