Climate Change, Belonging and Migration in Oceania

This project is studying how the projected consequences of climate change influence the cultural constituting of belonging and the decision to migrate. First, it is being clarified how the inhabitants of islands and coastal areas experience changes occurring in nature, environment, and climate. Second, I ask how belonging is culturally constituted – vis-à-vis different local groups, the home island (or country or nation), and (in the event) transnational communities. Third, I clarify how Pacific Islanders relate to the option of migration. Also, in this nexus of concerns, I focus on the role of emotions in fostering a sense of belonging and in the decision whether or not to migrate. Research has thus far been focused on Kiribati, an atoll state in the Central Pacific, which, according to recent projections by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is particularly vulnerable.


  • Climate Change and Worries over Land: Articulations in the Atoll State of Kiribati. In: Eveline Dürr and Arno Pascht (eds.): Environmental Transformations and Cultural Responses: Ontologies, Discourses, and Practices in Oceania; pp. 49-73. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • 2014
  • (Kempf, Wolfgang; Hermann, Elfriede): Epilogue. Uncertain Futures of Belonging. Consequences of Climate Change and Sea Level Rise in Oceania. In: Elfriede Hermann, Wolfgang Kempf and Toon van Meijl (eds.): Belonging in Oceania. Movement, Place-Making and Multiple Identifications. New York: Berghahn Books, pp. 189-213.