Citizenship and Climate Change

Climate change is challenging notions and practices of citizenship, particularly in areas that are directly experiencing the some of its most dramatic impacts. The tensions between global, national, regional, local and individual scale understandings and practices of citizenship influence perception of and response to climate change.

This project focuses on understanding whether and how people’s sense of their rights and obligations as citizens are shifting in the face of climate change disruptions, including sea level rise, flooding, droughts, heat waves, and water shortages. In some cases, climate change may empower citizens to make claims upon their government, while in other cases power structures may exclude certain groups from decision‐making, thereby reinforcing existing patterns of inclusion and exclusion. The very notion of being a citizen of (and belonging to) a geographically demarcated space may be disrupted by climate change as communities are forced to relocate. In other regions, citizens may begin to identify more with their local community or with similarly situated communities around the globe and less with their national government as they seek help adapting to climate change.

Funded by: the Maxwell School’s 10th Decade Project.

Participating faculty: Catherine Gerard, Sarah Pralle, Rebecca Schewe, Farhana Sultana, Peter Wilcoxen. Graduate students: Matt Bethurem, Bridget Fahey, Brian Ohl