Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Autonomous Geographies in Aotearoa: Camp for Climate Action and the Politics of Climate Change

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posted on 2021-11-12, 13:37 authored by Willoughby-Martin, Elizabeth

In the last two decades a new form of social movement has spread internationally, characterized by political autonomy, direct action, radical change, and decentralized organization. In response to academic misunderstandings of these new movements, critical geographers have coined the term 'autonomous geographies' to allow effective documentation and communication of these struggles. This research uses autonomous geographies and related discourses to explore how autonomous political collective Camp for Climate Action Aotearoa contributes to the politics of climate change in New Zealand. As an active participant in Camp for Climate Action Aotearoa I have utilized a scholar activist epistemological framework throughout the research process, allowing successful navigation of these interconnected identities. Critical discussion of qualitative data gathered in semi-structured interviews with long-term participants indicates that Camp for Climate Action Aotearoa provides significant support to activists through community and affective solidarity. Camp for Climate Action Aotearoa uses direct action and direct democracy processes which contribute to everyday activist practices and express a non-hegemonic 'logic of affinity'. Data analysis indicates Camp for Climate Action Aotearoa contributes to the creation of alternative futures in the present. These alternative futures are necessary for healthy democracies. Physical climate camps are particularly significant in providing opportunities for creating these alternative visions. Climate Camp Aotearoa is a genuinely political collective that contributes to a repoliticization of climate change in New Zealand.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Environmental Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Environmental Studies

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Hutchings, Jessica