Social Dynamics in Coastal and Marine Areas


Research priorities

  • social and cultural impacts of climate change, political ecology, flight and migration, EU border regime, political geography, legal anthropology, regions: EU, Mediterranean, Oceania, and Southeast Asia


Current research:

  • Most of our research concerns human-environment relations and issues of climate change migration and climate change adaptation.
  • Current research projects are primarily developing our perspectives on climate policies: How can we integrate cultural and social diversity into different forms of climate change adaptation? How can we develop  knowledge on aspects of climate justice, e.g. with regard to future generations and the people in the Global South? Climate migration in Oceania and new strategies and resources for environmental migrants is a research topic of the working group, which is been investigated primarily in the atoll island states of Kiribati and Fiji. Further research and teaching topics of Prof. Dr. Silja Klepp are migration and refugees in the Mediterranean and the EU border regime.
  • Jonas Hein works on the political ecology of climate change, nature conservation and development. He is primarily concerned with conflicts surrounding access to natural resources, with trade-offs between development and nature conservation and the role of the state in resource conflicts. His current project deals with the "Political Ecology of Nature Conservation and Development in Coastal Areas. So far, Jonas Hein has worked mainly in Indonesia, Colombia and Peru.
  • In his PhD project, Marius Hübler works on climate protection and resilience through municipal sufficiency policy in rural areas.
  • In addition, the working group investigates the use of and access to land and natural resources in the Global South. Which actors can use land for agriculture and which not? Which actors have access to natural resources in mangroves and rainforests?


Research activities of Prof. Dr. Silja Klepp

  • 2015 Research Fellow at the Pacific Center for Environment and Sustainable Development at University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji
  • 2015 Fieldresearch in Fiji and Kiribati/ Central Pacific
  • March – June 2011: Field research in Kiribati/Central Pacific and New Zealand on the topic of climate change and mobility
  • November-December 2010: Field research in Vanuatu/South Pacifc on the topic of climate change and mobility
  • April – October 2007: Field research in Southern Italy and Malta to learn more about the practices of national and European border security forces handling the phenomenon of irregular migration in the Mediterranean Sea
  • October – November 2006: Field research in Tripoli/Libya to analyse the living and detention conditions of transit migrants and refugees in Libya and the effects of the Italian-Libyan border co-operation
  • April 2006: Research trip to Sicily, Italy funded by the German NGO Pro Asyl to undertake research and write a report on the situation of immigrants and refugees in the Italian sea-border region
  • June – September 2004: I spearheaded an empirical research team in Lusaka, Zambia, to provide information for the Zambian-German technical cooperation project “STEP IN” which was funded by the ASA Programme of InWEnt gGmbH (Capacity Building International, Germany). In an intercultural research team an assessment of possible forms of cooperation amongst informal sector operators was undertaken.
  • March – August 2002: Field research for my thesis: “Arrival and Reception of Refugees in Italy”. Conducted surveys on the situation of refugees in Puglia Region/ southern Italy and in the city of Turin/ northern Italy. Research also included an analysis of the Italian policy in the European process of harmonising migration and refugee law.
  • September 1998 – April 1999: Erasmus Exchange Programme in Naples, Italy: Undertaking of a self-designed empirical research project on the situation of unemployed young people in Naples, their social networking and survival strategies.