Migration is now often conceived as a legitimate adaptive response to climate change. Numerous critiques have been made of this so-called ‘migration-as-adaptation’ discourse, arguing that the discourse is consistent with the political rationality of neoliberalism. This paper argues that by neglecting to account for ‘race’, these critiques obscure the imbrications of race found in Michel Foucault’s original characterisation of biopower. One effect of this neglect is that the biopolitical critique of migration-as-adaptation distances the entire debate about climate change and migration from any meaningful consideration of its racial underpinnings. The paper offers a different perspective, arguing that within the migration-as-adaptation discourse, a new racial vocabulary is beginning to take shape, one that distinguishes would-be MIGRANTS on the basis of their adaptive and maladaptive capacities. This logic is based on insurantial reasoning in which the raced body and the uninsurable body are often made to overlap. The paper suggests that this new racial vocabulary might be understood as ‘topological’ as opposed to dialectical racism.
Baldwin, W. (2017). Resilience and race, or climate change and the uninsurable migrant: towards an anthroporacial reading of ‘race’. Resilience (Abingdon, U.K. : Online), 5(2), 129-143. https://doi.org/10.1080/21693293.2016.1241473