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Contextualising typologies of environmentally induced population movement

Robert Stojanov (Department of Social Geography & Regional Development, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic)
Ilan Kelman (University College London, London, UK; Norwegian Institute for International Affairs (NUPI), Oslo, Norway and Risk Reduction Education for Disasters (Risk RED), California, California, USA)
Shawn Shen (Department of Geography Education, Catholic University of Daegu, Gyeongsan-si, South Korea)
Barbora Duží (Department of Applied and Landscape Ecology, Faculty of Agronomy, Mendel University, Brno, Czech Republic and Department of Regional Management, Faculty of Economics, University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice)
Himani Upadhyay (Earth Science & Climate Change Division, The Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi, India)
Dmytro Vikhrov (Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education (CERGE-EI), Prague, Czech Republic)
G.J. Lingaraj (Earth Science & Climate Change Division, The Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi, India)
Arabinda Mishra (Earth Science & Climate Change Division, The Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi, India)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 28 October 2014




The purpose of this paper is to show how typologies for environmentally induced population movement need to be understood in a contextualised manner in order to be useful.


This study interrogates some academic discourses concerning environmentally induced population movement. By analysing key environmental factors said to contribute to population movement, in addition to considering time factors, this study uses the case of Tuvalu to demonstrate overlapping categories and the importance of contextualisation.


Current typologies provide a basis for considering a wide variety of motives for environmentally induced population movement, in relation to different drivers, motivations, time scales, and space scales. Yet contextualisation is required for policy and practice relevance.

Research limitations/implications

All typologies have limitations. Any typology should be taken as a possible tool to apply in a particular context, or to support decision making, rather than presenting a typology as universal or as an absolute without dispute.

Practical implications

Rather than disputes over typologies and definitions, bringing together different views without reconciling them, but recognising the merits and limitations of each, can provide a basis for assisting people making migration decisions.


None of the typologies currently available applies to all contexts of environmentally induced population movement – nor should any single typology necessarily achieve that. Instead, it is important to thrive on the differences and to contextualise a typology for use.



© Robert Stojanov, Ilan Kelman, Shawn Shen, Barbora Duží, Himani Upadhyay, Dmytro Vikhrov, G.J. Lingaraj and Arbanda Mishra. Published by Emerald Group Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 3.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial & non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at


Stojanov, R., Kelman, I., Shen, S., Duží, B., Upadhyay, H., Vikhrov, D., Lingaraj, G.J. and Mishra, A. (2014), "Contextualising typologies of environmentally induced population movement", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 23 No. 5, pp. 508-523.



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Copyright © 2014, Authors

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