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It’s all about politics: Migration and resource conflicts in the global south

Wiederkehr, C., Ide, T.ORCID: 0000-0001-8401-2372, Seppelt, R. and Hermans, K. (2022) It’s all about politics: Migration and resource conflicts in the global south. World Development, 157 . Art. 105938.

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Both researchers and policy makers have repeatedly expressed concerns that migration will enhance conflicts regarding renewable resources in destination areas. This concept is fuelled by projections of large future migration flows within the Global South, resulting from armed conflict, global environmental change, and persistent economic inequalities. However, as of yet, there is no conclusive empirical evidence of a nexus between migration, resource competition, and conflict at an aggregate level. Case studies draw contradicting conclusions, and cross-case research on the topic remains scarce. Here, we combine comprehensive qualitative and quantitative data from 20 cases in rural Asia, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Based on these cases, we investigate why certain areas hosting migrants have resource-related conflicts, while others do not. Using qualitative comparative analysis (QCA), we evaluate and elucidate two combinations of conditions under which resource conflict involving migrants in destination areas occurs: (1) high reliance on natural resources and negative othering of migrants in terms of resource use, and (2) government policies supporting parts of the migrant group coupled with limited resource use possibilities due to conservation efforts or industrial activities. By underlining the crucial role of grievances related to perceived unfair resource access and the strong influence of government actions on local migrant-host dynamics, we challenge deterministic narratives of migration, resource scarcity and conflict.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): College of Arts, Business, Law and Social Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2022 Elsevier Ltd.
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