8.2 Mayrhofer

| December 31, 2020

Monika Mayrhofer. (2020). Victims, Security Threats or Agents? – Framing Climate Change-related Mobility in International Human Rights Documents. International Journal of Law, Language & Discourse 8(2), 9-33.

Abstract: Climate change-related human mobility is a contested issue. For over a decade, UN human rights bodies have contributed to international discussions on displacement, migration and other forms of mobility associated with climate change. This contribution will analyze how climate change-related mobility is framed by UN human rights institutions. The findings show that UN human rights bodies primarily rely on a victim/protection-frame, which understands mobile persons in the context of climate change first and foremost as victims in need of human rights protection. However, other frames are used as well. In particular, the framing of mobile persons as political and social agents, which focuses on active entitlement, participation and empowerment, is also a recurring frame. Frames, such as the conceptualization of environmental migration as a security-threat or an adaptation-frame, which understands human mobility in the context of climate change as a viable adaptive strategy and emphasizes the benefits of mobility, are infrequently used. This article will use a frame-analytical approach, a variation of discourse analysis, in order to discuss to what extent and how these four different frames are invoked in documents published by UN human rights bodies and in what specific way these narratives are shaped and perpetuated by the international human rights discourse.

Keywords: climate change, mobility, human rights, frame analysis, United Nations


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Category: Volume 8