Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Political Science


Carol Gould

Committee Members

Alyson Cole

Subject Categories

International Relations | Nature and Society Relations | Political Theory


migrant, refugee, immigration, borders, sovereignty, aterritoriality, inhabit, police logic, political ecology, social ecology, decolonization, climate change, stasis


Dramatic shifts in climate have generated a new form of global displacement. These ‘climate migrants’ challenge the notion of state sovereignty by introducing a new paradigm for global responsibility. I seek to address this emerging demand of sovereignty by outlining the normative mechanisms of state institutions when encountering displaced persons. The extreme cases of disappearing island nations creates stateless population incompatible with standard liberal values of humanitarianism and border security. My claim is that current normative institutions and principles of assistance to migrating people are insufficient to manage the international crisis of climate change. To be able to aid migrants will require a rethinking of border policy to make states accountable of their role in the crisis and/or show them to be irrelevant. I conclude with a look at how non-state actors can reframe the concept of sovereignty out of state centric principles, with a view of climate migrants as a natural occurrence resulting from unnatural situations.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.