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Michael Mikulewicz

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Previous education

  • MSc in Environmental Studies, California State University, Fullerton, USA, 2012
  • MA in Politics and International Relations (BA equivalent), University of Aberdeen, UK, 2010 

Thesis title

The Post-Political Governance of Adaptation to Climate Change


Research details

My research studies adaptation to climate change, or any actions taken by individuals or organizations in response to climate change impacts. Specifically, I am interested in the political, economic, and social effects that adaptation and development policies and projects funded by international aid agencies have on rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa. I study these projects by using the notion of post-political governance, which promotes inherently conservative techno-managerial and expert-based solutions that limit space for democratic and political deliberation.

One potential result of this kind of governance is the reinforcement of intra-community inequalities, turning adaptation into a driver for social stratification rather than reducing collective vulnerability. Critical climate scholars have noted that adaptation projects can have unequal effects on the affected communities and produce local “winners and losers”, but there is relatively little empirical evidence to support these claims. My work explores how post-political governance manifests itself through a GEF-funded adaptation project in the small island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe (STP) as well as its effects on the local communities involved in the project.

My fieldwork involved extensive stays in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (the institutional home of the project) and STP (where it is managed and implemented locally), during which I used a range of qualitative methods, including ethnography.

Research interests

  • Critical social climate science, including climate justice
  • Climate change policy and politics
  • Adaptation and vulnerability to climate change impacts
  • Post-politics and post-democracy
  • Political ecology
  • Neo-Marxist, feminist and queer geography

Recent Publications

  • Forthcoming: Mikulewicz, M. (2017). “Politicising vulnerability and adaptation: On the need to democratise local responses to climate impacts in developing countries.” Climate and Development.