Environmental Displacement and Planned Relocation: Im/mobile Aspirations and Trajectories within the Context of the National Relocation Program from the Uruguayan Government

Jana Donat, BA MA

Supervisor: Univ.-Prof. Dr.in Petra Dannecker, MA 


This dissertation project aims to contribute to a more even geography of environmental change and human im/mobilities in academia (see Piguet et al. 2018) by investigating environmental displacements and planned relocation approaches in an underrepresented research field. Although Uruguay was the first and only country in the world connecting concepts of human im/mobility with the challenges of environmental/climate change within policy papers, responding to the Paris Agreement in form of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), not a single study has been done about the Governments’ relocation processes that already started in 2010.

In order to fairly meet this research gap, previous research on environmental displacement and planned relocation will be rethought and critically reflected from a development study’s perspective by incorporating an im/mobility lens, thereby theorizing postcolonial presents of regimes of mobility (Glick Schiller/Salazar 2013) and motility (Kaufmann 2004). How and on which scales are im/mobile responses to environmental change articulated and negotiated? How are im/mobile aspirations developed, socially organized and constructed when living in places affected by environmental change? In order to better understand possible complexities and consequences of environmental change on the livelihood of people and their agency, the research will focus on im/mobile aspirations, and not only trajectories as most case studies do, to discover new aspects of the phenomena. Inevitably, this study will bear new methodological, conceptual and ethical challenges in terms of spatial and temporal scales I want to address.