The climate change of your desires: Climate migration and imaginaries of urban and rural climate futures

What are the political imaginaries contained within representations of urban climate futures? What silent but corollary rural dispossessions accompany them? I investigate these questions through the experience of migrants from rural coastal Bangladesh to peri-urban Kolkata. The threats posed to their villages by a variety of ecological disruptions (both loosely and intimately linked with climate change) drive their migration in search of new livelihoods. Their experiences suggest that the demise of rural futures is entangled with the celebration of urban climate futures. However, social movements in this region resisting agrarian dispossession point to alternative political imaginaries that resist teleologies of urbanization at the expense of agrarian livelihoods. Current work in both agrarian studies and urban studies theorizes these linked dynamics of rural–urban transition, seeking to understand them in relation to broader political economies. I bring these debates into conversation with one another to highlight the importance of attention to counter-hegemonic agrarian political imaginaries, particularly in the face of predictions of the death of the peasantry in a climate-changed world. It won’t be possible to identify or pursue just climate futures without them.

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Volume 38 Issue 2

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