Res Publica

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 37–52 | Cite as

Water Crisis Adaptation: Defending a Strong Right Against Displacement from the Home

  • Cara Nine


This essay defends a strong right against displacement as part of a basic individual right to secure access to one’s home. The analysis is purposefully situated within the difficult context of climate change adaptation policies. Under increasing environmental pressures, especially regarding water security, there are weighty reasons motivating the forced displacement of persons—to safeguard water resources or prevent water-related disasters. Even in these pressing circumstances, I argue, individuals have weighty rights to secure access to their homes. I explain how the home provides a functional context for conditions of autonomous agency. Being coerced from the home disrupts and subverts the conditions necessary for autonomous processes. I conclude by suggesting that the right to the home could be a foundational element of territorial rights.


Internal displacement Rights to the home Territorial rights Climate change adaptation Relocation Relational autonomy Refugees Rights of residence Occupancy Occupation Spatial justice 



This paper was written under the support of a grant from the Irish Research Council. Arguments in this paper have benefited from audiences at the Stanford University Political Theory Workshop and at the Philosophy Department at University College Cork, and I would especially like to thank Alex Levitov and an anonymous reviewer with Res Publica for their constructive comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University College CorkCorkIreland

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