Geopolitics, Vol. 19, No. 4
Special Issue: Rethinking Climate Change, Conflict and Security
Malthus’s privileging of population growth as the main cause of poverty, scarcity and war still resonates widely in both the public policy arena and popular culture. It shapes dominant discourses about the relationship between climate change, conflict and security in Africa. This article examines what I call the Malthusian Anticipatory Regime for Africa (MARA). MARA represents the convergence of current international strategies for reducing high fertility in sub-Saharan Africa through long-acting female contraception with climate conflict narratives that blame environmental degradation on population pressure and portray young African men as a security threat. Together these serve as a powerful gendered rationale for Western humanitarian and military interventions. MARA also plays a role in justifying the new land enclosures on the continent. How can critical scholarship more effectively challenge MARA and intervene in the politics of anticipating the future?
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