Successful PhD defence by Sara Vigil

Dr Sara Vigil

On 7 November 2019, Sara Vigil successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled Geopolitical Ecologies of Environmental Change, Land Grabbing and Migration: comparative perspectives from Senegal and Cambodia. 

This was the 200th PhD awarded by the International Institute of Social Studies.

Sara Virgil examined the interactions between environmental change, land grabbing, and migration.  Using a global ethnographic approach, she carried out a historical and multi-scalar analysis together with extensive comparative fieldwork conducted in two different socio-political settings: Senegal and Cambodia.

Research findings

Her findings across cases show how environmental and migration narratives, linked to adaptation and security discourses, have been deployed – advertently or inadvertently – to justify land capture, leading to interventions that often increase, rather than alleviate, the very pressures that they intend to redress.

The research shows that despite intrinsically opposed assumptions behind the ‘migration as adaptation’ or ‘migration as security threat’ framings, they can both interact with environmental and climate change justifications in ways that create ‘self-fulfilling risks’ which make insecurity and maladaptation a reality – and well beyond the landscapes where land grabs unfold.

PhD defence by Sara Vigil - 7 November 2019

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