Assistant Professor Environmental Governance
Faculteit Management, Science & Technology
international politics of climate change
climate change and migration
I draw on Foucaultian discourse analysis to study the different ways in which climate change is being governed, and changes therein over time (Oels 2005). In my most recent work, I investigate the changing discursive construction of the climate refugee over the last 25 years (Methmann & Oels 2015). I show that resilience discourse tends to present migration as an inevitable and rational response to dangerous levels of climate change. Resilience discourse thereby de-politicises the issue of climate change and silences demands for drastic emission reductions. At the Open Universiteit, I continue my work on climate migration, but I also take up new work on innovations in climate governance from a discursive perspective. I am involved in the EU COST Action Innovations in Climate Governance with Prof. Dave Huitema.
For my Phd, I have studied an innovative tool for public participation, the Future Search Conference method. I evaluated the learning and outcomes of two Future Search Conferences in Local Agenda 21 processes in municipalities in England and Bavaria over a period of two years. I showed that the stakeholder dialogues were excellent in building social capital and facilitating learning, but both failed to deliver any other substantive outcomes. The reason was a power conflict with the elected representatives.
PhD in Environmental Sciences from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, United Kingdom (2001)
pre-diploma in Environmental Engineering from the Technical University of Berlin, Germany (1995)