, Volume 41, Issue 8, pp 795–807 | Cite as

Environment and Mobility: A View from Four Discourses

  • Lezlie C. Erway Morinière
  • Mohammed Hamza


Debate and literature on the link between degrading environments and human mobility has been increasing exponentially. There is little concrete evidence, however, of efforts or policies that support the management of environmentally influenced mobility. Through discourse analysis using Q-methodology, this research aimed to scrutinize the standoff between opposing views under a fresh lens. One-hundred and ninety-seven experts from 49 nations completed an on-line survey asking them to sort, by level of agreement, 42 statements gleaned from the literature concerning the environment-mobility nexus. Four very different discourses emerged: determined humanists, benevolent pragmatists, cynical protectionists, and critical realists. The complexity of these discourses helps explain the stalemate while confirming the inappropriateness of one-sided terminology and linear quantifications. Despite diametrically opposed viewpoints, experts unanimously agree that human mobility is connected to environmental change. Dissection of these social perspectives builds a new foundation for the Rio+20 analysis and policy deliberations related to environmentally influenced human mobility.


Environmentally influenced mobility Complexity Environmental change Discourse Q-methodology 

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOC 100 kb)


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lezlie C. Erway Morinière
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Mohammed Hamza
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.University of Arizona (Office of Arid Land Studies, OALS)TucsonUSA
  2. 2.Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)OxfordUK
  3. 3.Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB)StockholmSweden
  4. 4.Global Climate Adaptation Partnership (GCAP)OxfordUK
  5. 5.Oxford Brookes UniversityOxfordUK
  6. 6.Lund UniversityLundSweden

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