Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Geography and Anthropology
This research inquiry engages with residents from three Louisiana parishes who have already or are currently facing possible migration decisions. The research focuses on understanding the links among the influence and mobility of three factors: social relations (i.e., faith-based networks, civic organizations, family, cultural and heritage identities, etc.), inherent resilient practices, and place, including sense of and attachment to it. It will draw from those bodies of literature as well as environmental migration literature, while underscoring that decisions of migration are influenced by environmental factors, but ultimately shaped by a complexity of often simultaneous forces, including social, political-economic, and cultural processes. In conducting this research, I pay particular attention to the relations between the socio-environmental factors specific to the Louisiana coast that influence residents’ migration decisions in the geographically bounded places they currently reside in or may in the future. The following three questions are central to the research: (1) bearing in mind the multi-faceted causal contributing factors, including land loss, livelihood shifts, storm-related obstacles, and more, which are compelling residents to consider migration, how do residents see these factors affecting the decision-making processes? (2) With social relations deemed a key factor in resilient practices and sense of and attachment to place, what spatial and temporal roles do they play in migratory decision-making and; (3) what effects are these conjoining changes and processes of migration having on the residents themselves? Methods for this research project include visual and aural ethnographic-based methods, participant observation, document analysis, and semi-structured interviews. When placed within a broad framework of environmental migration, this empirical, interview-based research shows that residents’ migration decisions are always context-dependent and location-specific. The compounding changes taking place around them are affecting the residents also, and these are not discretely separate, but, rather, are interconnected processes. Here, alongside the uncertainty associated with fears surrounding future storms, there lies a persistently inescapable and unpredictable context within many interviewees reside. This discussion can contribute to a broader understanding of Louisiana residents’ experiences surrounding their perspectives on remaining, leaving or returning to their home location despite substantial challenges and discussions of relocation.
Document Availability at the Time of Submission
Student has submitted appropriate documentation to restrict access to LSU for 365 days after which the document will be released for worldwide access.
Simms, Jessica Rose, "Grounds for Displacement: Issues of Migration on Louisiana's Disappearing Coast" (2017). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 4492.