18th Annual Conference in Citizenship Studies: Citizenship and the Climate Crisis
Extreme climate events and a growing climate crisis fueled by human activity continue to raise pressing questions regarding the functionality of the concept of citizenship. At one level, climate changes have driven peoples from the hardest-hit regions to become climate migrants and climate refugees, forcing those people to abandon whatever rights they had in their countries of origin.
The human activity contributing to the climate crisis is distributed unevenly across the globe, disrupting the reciprocity between rights and responsibilities traditionally associated with citizenship. Individual, corporate and nation-state entities responsible for the climate crisis are increasingly divorced from a reciprocal relationship to the rights of other entities impacted by their activities. Nation states provide limited political framework for structuring the citizenship of entities within their borders. Corporations, for example, which claim rights in one nation-state, can be unburdened of responsibilities in other states or to other entities. They claim the status of citizenship and so bear the responsibility of that status. And individuals, by virtue of employment and consumption, shift their allegiances beyond the boundaries of the nation-state, becoming, in effect, citizens of multinational corporations.
There are several recent situations where climate change is evincing profound impact on societies. These include the 2019 drought in Cape Town, South Africa; the 2022 floods in the Indus River Basin of Pakistan as well as the dramatic violent weather episodes in otherwise mild climate zones such as the United Kingdom and California. Some of these weather events are acute, while others appear to be the start or exacerbation of chronic conditions. Each of these scenarios is accompanied by an exercise of citizenship or the development of new modalities of citizenship, as either reactive or prescriptive measures. Given both the pervasive and increasingly frequent nature of devastating climate events across the planet, the need to understand their effect on citizenship is as exigent as the effort to reverse their adverse consequences.
We encourage proposals examining a range of topics from the specific causes and consequences of climate migration and refugees to disruptions of the rights and responsibilities traditionally associated with citizenship.