Kasia Paprocki’s Threatening Dystopias offers a deeply researched, historically informed, and compelling analysis of climate change adaptation in Bangladesh, one of the most vulnerable regions in the world. Paprocki’s wide-ranging ethnographic and archival work provides important critiques of élite developmental initiatives, of today’s ‘climate adaptation’ orthodoxy, and of the business interests that would result in dispossession and impoverishment of local farmers, industrial shrimp aquaculture for the European market (rather than rice for local consumption) and the movement of people off the land and into urban export manufacturing to supply cheap clothing for the global north. Many local residents are tied into local and international inequitable systems in which they have no voice and cannot readily protect their livelihoods. This outstanding book is a worthy winner of the BASAS book prize for 2023. It is a chastening account that should be required reading for all those who are invested in understanding climate change.
17 April 2023