Resisting Post-truth Politics, a Primer: Or, How Not to Think about Human Mobility and the Global Environment

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In recent years, students of world politics have been shaken to the core by the ascent of post-truth politics, which is a particular style of ‘doing politics’ by politicians and pundits – a style that strategically relies on misrepresentations at best, and at worst, lies. The so-called post-truth world has had consequences beyond those who are in the business of doing politics. The pervasiveness of presumed causal linkages between environmental degradation, violent conflict and human mobility has been utilized by policy makers and pundits to shape public opinion about the predicament of the Syrian refugees, the human tragedy of this decade in the Northern hemisphere. On the one hand, scholarly research shows that the relationship between environmental degradation, violent conflict and irregular mobility is far too complex to be understood in terms of causal linkages. On the other hand, in a post-truth world, it is politicians and pundits who repeat falsehoods that have shaped public opinion about the Syrian refugees. It is in the spirit of engaging with post-truth politics as such that I present what follows as a primer: how not to think about human mobility and the global environment.