OntologicalSecurity in a Transforming World

Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay, Nadi, Fiji
James Coleman, Unsplash

The plight of the most climate-vulnerable countries is a pertinent issue in the UN climate negotiations, and for the realization of the Paris agreement. Narratives of climate change from these places, that take into account health and security, have so far not been adequately recognised.

The project Ontological Security in a Transforming World seeks to address this gap. The project combines political-economic, sense-making, and phenomenological analyses of societal transformations in relation to climate change. In doing so, we seek to understand how interactions between changes in the practical sphere (e.g. routines and behaviours, climate change adaptation action, and technical innovations), political (e.g. transformation governance) and personal spheres (e.g. lived experiences of health, well-being, risk, loss and damage) shape the transformative process.

The project’s empirical focus is on Fiji and possibly other Pacific Island states. Methodologically, the project combines analyses of semi-structured interviews with international actors, community leaders, and focus groups with affected communities (in the form of talanoa sessions), analyses of documents, and a conceptual synthesis of Loss and Damage, Transformation, and Ontological Security.

The project will contribute environmental and medical humanities perspectives to debates on climate-related security, including a more thorough understanding of challenges to health and security during a period of radical environmental change. It is expected to contribute a framework that holds together the analysis of the political, the practical, and personal.

The project is a collaboration between Stephen Woroniecki, Victoria Wibeck, Björn-Ola Linnér and Kristin Zeiler, Linköping University, Franco Vaccarino and Pamela Feetham, Massey University, Nya Zeeland and Priyatma Singh, University of Fiji, Fiji. The project is part of the research program The Seedbox, A Mistra-Formas Environmental Humanities Collaboratory.