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The Power to Stay: Climate, Cocoa, and the Politics of Displacement

Event Type
Department of Geography & GIS
Sep 9, 2022   3:00 pm  
Sean Kennedy, California Strategic Growth Council/Department of Urban Planning, UIUC
This event is free and open to public
Originating Calendar
Geography and Geographic Information Science

The relationship between climate adaptation and displacement is typically associated with the involuntary relocation of human bodies and livelihoods due to environmental hazards such as sea-level rise and extreme weather. In this talk, I offer an alternative perspective. Through an examination of recent trends in the Indonesian cocoa sector, I argue that fixing labor and capital in place—often in the form of smallholder producers—has emerged as a core strategy for corporate entities to manage the threat of their own economic displacement. Although this strategy enables corporate entities to maintain cocoa production in the face of economic and environmental disruption, the associated loss of smallholder mobility, constrained livelihood options, and new forms of financial dependency increase smallholder vulnerability to economic and environmental impacts related to climate change. This work highlights emerging tensions between climate adaptation, displacement, and agrarian change while raising new questions concerning who and what is displaced and how in the context of climate adaptation in the Global South.

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