Amsterdam, Netherlands
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Abrahamsson S.,AISSR | Bertoni F.,AISSR | Mol A.,AISSR
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space | Year: 2015

In the early 21st century quite a few social scientists and scholars in the humanities are arguing that we should pay more attention to things material. For, as they say, not only humans act but so, too, do materials. Joining this discussion, in this paper we will use the case of omega-3 fatty acids to address the questions of how materials may act; in which ways this is relevant; and what is linked up with it. Hence, we will come to speak about research in prisons where inmates were badly nourished; fish being caught in the Global South for Scandinavian fish pills; and the urgency of shifting from the verb ‘to act’ to a differentiated list of modes of doing. Learning from the natural sciences, we will argue, requires that their methods and concerns be carefully attended to. Taking matters seriously comes with the obligation of tracing where such matters come from and where they go. And talking about ‘action’, finally, demands that, beyond liberal notions of isolated individual actors, it be creatively retheorised. © 2014 Pion and its Licensors.

van der Gesest K.,AISSR | Vrieling A.,International Institute for Geo Information Science and Earth Observation ITC | Dietz T.,AISSR
Environment and Urbanization | Year: 2010

Migration-environment linkages are at the centre of media attention because of public concern about climate change and a perceived "flooding" of migrants from less developed countries into more affluent parts of the world. In the past few years, a substantial body of conceptual literature about environmentally induced migration has evolved, but there is still a paucity of empirical work in this area. Moreover, the environmental causes of migration have been studied largely in isolation of the environmental consequences. In this paper we present an analysis of migration and vegetation dynamics for one country (Ghana) to assess four migration-environment linkages. On the one hand, we look at two environmental drivers of migration: environmental push and pull. On the other hand, we look at the environmental impact of migration on source and destination areas. Census data at the district level (N=110) are used to map domestic migration flows in Ghana, which are then related to vegetation dynamics retrieved from a remotely sensed Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) dataset (1981- 2006). The analysis shows that at the national level, there are significant but weak correlations between migration and vegetation cover and trends therein. Districts with a migration deficit (more out-migration than in-migration) tend to be more sparsely vegetated and have experienced a more positive NDVI trend over the past quarter century than districts with a migration surplus. A disaggregation of data in three principle migration systems shows stronger correlations. Namely that north-south migration and cocoa frontier settlement have important environmental dimensions, but environmental factors do not seem to play a major role in migration to the capital, Accra. An important insight from this paper is that migration flows in Ghana can be explained partly by vegetation dynamics but are also strongly related to rural population densities. This is because access to natural resources is often more important than the scarcity or abundance of natural resources per se. This study further shows that satellite remote sensing can provide valuable input to analyses of migration-environment linkages. © 2010 International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).

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