Prof. Dr. Patrick Sakdapolrak

Research Group Leader


Department of Geography and Regional Research, University of Vienna
Universitätsstraße 7/5
1010 Vienna


Tel.: +43-1-4277-48730

Consultation hours: Monday, 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. (not during the semester breaks)
Social media: facebook - twitter - researchgate - academia

Biography | Research interests | Publications


My research is primarily concerned with the question of how vulnerable groups live with risk. I am particularly interested in how people cope with and adapt to environmental and social stresses. The role of migration and translocal strategies within this context features centrally in my research. I have worked on the conceptual development of social vulnerability, livelihoods, and social resilience approaches, as well as migration and translocality. I have worked empirically in Thailand, India as well as Kenya. I took my Diplom (MSc) in geography at the University of Heidelberg and obtained a Master's degree in social change and development at the University of Wollongong in Australia. For my Ph.D. thesis on health vulnerability among poor urban groups in India, I was awarded a special prize for excellent practice-relevant research in the field of development studies (the KfW-Förderpreis). In 2013, I had a temporary professorship for social geography and sustainability research at the LMU in Munich. Since October 2013, I have been leading a Research Group on Environment, Migration, and Resilience at the University of Bonn. Since January 2016 I am a Professor for Population Geography and Demography at the University of Vienna. In November 2017 I joined the World Population (POP) Program at the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) as a affiliated researcher.

Research interests

Conceptual : vulnerability, resilience, livelihoods, translocality, Bourdieu's Practice Theory;
Thematic : human-environment-relations, migration and displacement, health and disease
Regional : South Asia (India), South-East Asia (Thailand), East Africa (Kenya)



Sakdapolrak, P. (2010): Orte und Räume der Health Vulnerability. Bourdieus Theorie der Praxis für die Analyse von Krankheit und Gesundheit in megaurbanen Slums von Chennai, Südindien. Verlag für Entwicklungspolitik, Saarbrücken.

Scientific journals

Ober, K. & P. Sakdapolrak (2017): How do social practices shape policy? Analysing the field of ‘migration as adaptation’ with Bourdieu's ‘Theory of Practice’. In: The Geographical Journal (2017). doi:10.1111/geoj.12225 .

Porst, L. & P. Sakdapolrak (2017). How scale matters in translocality: uses and potentials of scale in translocal research, Erdkunde 71 (2): 111-126.

Rockenbauch, T. & Sakdapolrak, P. (2017): Social networks and the resilience of rural communities in the Global South: a critical review and conceptual reflections. In: Ecology and Society, 22 (1):10,

Etzold, B. & Sakdapolrak, P. (2016): Socio-spatialities of vulnerability: towards a polymorphic perspective in vulnerability research. In: Die Erde, 147 (4), 53-70.

Sakdapolrak, P. & Etzold, B. (2016): Editorial to the special section “Geographies of Vulnerability and Resilience – Critical Explorations”. In: Die Erde, 147 (4), 230-233.

Sterly, H., Ober, K., and Sakdapolrak, P. (2016): Migration for Human Security? The Contribution of Translocality to Social Resilience. In: The Georgetown Journal of Asian Affairs, 3 (1), 57-66.

Sakdapolrak, P., Naruchaikusol, S., Ober, K., Peth, S., Porst, L., Rockenbauch, T., and Tolo, V. (2016): Migration in a changing climate. Towards a translocal social resilience approach. In: Die Erde, 147 (2), 81-94.

Afifi, T., Milan, A., Etzold, B., Schraven, B., Rademacher-Schulz, C., Sakdapolrak, P., Reif, A., van der Geest, K., Warner, K. (2015): Human mobility in response to rainfall variability: opportunities for migration as a successful adaptation strategy in eight case studies. in: Migration and Development, 1–21.

Lang, B. & Sakdapolrak, P. (2015): Violent place making: How Kenya’s post-election violence transforms a worker’s settlement at Lake Naivasha. In: Political Geography, 45, 67-78.

Fekete, A. & Sakdapolrak, P. (2014): Loss and Damage as an Alternative to Resilience and Vulnerability? Preliminary Reflections on an Emerging Climate Change Adaptation Discourse. In: International Journal of Disaster Risk Science,
5, 88-93.

Lang, B. & Sakdapolrak, P. (2014a): Belonging and recognition after the post-election violence: A case study on labour migrants in Naivasha, Kenya. In: Erdkunde, 68 (3), 185-196.

Sakdapolrak, P. (2014): Livelihoods as social practices. Re-energising livelihoods research with Bourdieu's theory of practice. In: Geographica Helvetica 69, 1–10.

Greiner, C. & Sakdapolrak, P. (2013a): Translocality: Concepts, applications and emerging research perspectives. In: Geography Compass, 7/5, 373-384.

Greiner, C. & Sakdapolrak, P. (2013b): Rural-urban migration, agricultural change and the environment in Kenya. A literature review. In: Population and Environment, 34 (4), 524-553.

Keck, M. & Sakdapolrak, P. (2013): What is social resilience? Lessons learned and ways forward. In: Erdkunde, 67 (1), 5-18.

Sakdapolrak, P., Ergler, C. & Seyler, T. (2013): Burdens of direct and indirect costs of illness: Empirical findings from slum settlements in Chennai, South India. In: Progress in Development Studies, 13, 135-151.

Sakdapolrak, P., Promburom, P. & Reif, A. (2013): Why successful in-situ adaptation with environmental stress does not prevent people from migrating? Empirical evidence from Northern Thailand. Climate and Development, 6 (1), 38-45.

Zimmer, A. & Sakdapolrak, P. (2012): The social practices of governing. Analysing waste water governance in a Delhi slum. In: Environment and Urbanization ASIA, 3, 325-341.

Butsch, C., Sakdapolrak, P. & Saravanan, S. V. (2012): Urban health in India. In: Internationales Asienforum, 43 (1-2), 13-32.

Etzold, B., Jülich, S., Keck, M., Sakdapolrak, P., Schmitt, T. & Zimmer, A. (2012): Doing institutions. New trends in institutional theory and their relevance for development geography. In: Erdkunde, 66 (3), 185-195.

Saravanan, S. V., Butsch, C. & Sakdapolrak, P. (2012): Editorial. Urban health in South Asia. In: Internationales Asienforum, 43 (1-2), 7-12.

Seyler, T. & Sakdapolrak, P. (2012): A Chikungunya outbreak in the metropolis of Chennai, India, 2006. In: Journal of Environmental Health, 1-2, 8-12.

Ergler, R. C., Sakdapolrak, P., Bohle, H.-G. & Kearns, R. (2011): "Entitlement to health care" as perceived by stakeholders and urban poor. Why is there a preference for private facilities in the city of Chennai, South India. In: Social Science & Medicine, 72 (3), 327-337.

Butsch, C. & Sakdapolrak, P. (2010): Geographien von Gesundheit in Entwicklungsländern. In: Geographische Rundschau, 7-8, 12-17.

Sakdapolrak, P. & Butsch, C. (2010): Sonne, Strand und Skalpell. Neue Dimensionen des medizinischen Tourismus. In: Geographische Rundschau, 7-8, 47.

Bohle, H.-G. & Sakdapolrak, P. (2009): Chennai. Alltagskampf um Wasser, Nahrung und Gesundheit. In: Geographie und Schule, 31 (181), 4-9.

Sakdapolrak, P. (2008): Jenseits von "Push and Pull". Internationale Arbeitsmigration als Strategie der Lebenssicherung in Thailand. In: Internationales Asienforum, 39 (1/2), 81-105.

Bohle, H.-G. & Sakdapolrak, P. (2008): Leben mit der Krise. Vertreibung von Slumbewohnern in der Megacity Chennai, Indien. In: Geographische Rundschau, 60 (12), 12-21.

Seyler, T., Sakdapolrak, P., Prasad, S. & Danraj, E. (2007): Domestic unsealed water sources and malaria incidence: A case study from Chennai, South India.In: The Indian Geographical Journal, 82 (2), 117-126.

Sakdapolrak, P. (2005): Internationale Arbeitsmigration aus Thailand. Eine Fallstudie. In: Pacific News, 23, 5-8.

Book chapters

Mattissek, A. and Sakdapolrak, P. (2016): Gesellschaft und Umwelt. In: Freytag, T. et al. (Eds.): Humangeographie kompakt. Heidelberg: Springer, 13-37.

Greiner, C. & Sakdapolrak, P. (2015): Migration, Environment and Inequality: Perspectives of a Political Ecology of Translocal Relations. In: R. McLeman, J. Schade and T. Faist  (Eds.): Environmental Migration and Social Inequality. Springer, Heidelberg. (prepress)

Ergler, R. C., Sakdapolrak, P., Bohle, H.-G. & Kearns, R. (2015): From Effective Cure to Affective Care: Access Barriers and Entitlements to Health Care Among Urban Poor in Chennai, India. In: Luginaah, I. und R. Bezner-Kerr (Hrsg.): Geographies of Development and Health. Farnham: Ashgate, 93-114.

Etzold, B. & Sakdapolrak, P. (2013): Globale Arbeit – lokale Verwundbarkeit: Internationale Arbeitsmigration aus der Perspektive der geographischen Verwundbarkeitsforschung. In: Steinbrink, M. und M. Geiger (Hrsg.): Migration und Entwicklung aus geographischer Perspektive. Institut für Migrationsforschung und Interkulturelle Studien, Osnabrück, 131–163.

Sakdapolrak, P., Raupp, S. & Fabian, T. (2012): Armut, Nahrung und Gesundheit. Alltägliche Herausforderungen verwundbarer Gruppen in Indiens Städten. In: Gamerith, W. (Hrsg.): China und Indien im 21. Jahrhundert. Passauer Kontaktstudium Geographie, Band 12: 109-125

Sakdapolrak, P., Seyler, T. & Sanjeevi Prasad., S. (2011): Measuring the local burden of diarrhoeal disease among slum dwellers in the megacity Chennai, South India. In: Krämer, A., Khan, M.H. und F. Kraas (Hrsg.): Health in megacities and urban areas. Springer, Heidelberg: 87-100.

Sakdapolrak, P. (2010): Vom Überlebenskampf zur kulturellen Praktik. Eine Fallstudie zur internationalen Arbeitsmigration aus Thailand. In: Reese, N. et al. (Hrsg.): Das Echo der Migration. Wie Auslandsmigration die Gesellschaft im globalen Süden verändert. Horlemann: 50-59.

Glaser, R., Lechner, M., Bohle, H.-G., Sauerborn, R., Louis V. & Sakdapolrak, P. (2007): Wasserkrisen in der Megacity Chennai in Südindien In: Gebhardt, H., Glaser, R., Radtke, U. und P. Reuber (Hrsg.): Geographie - Physische Geographie und Humangeographie. Spektrum, Heidelberg: 1009-1014.

Nestle, M., Sakdapolrak, P., Bohle, H.-G., Glaser, R., Louis, V., Mistelbacher, J., Sauerborn, R., Gans, P. & Lechner, M. (2007): Chennai. Umweltkrise und Gesundheitsrisiken in einer indischen Megacity.
In: R. Glaser und K. Kremb (Hrsg.): Planet Erde, Band Asien. WGB, Darmstadt: 209-214.

UNU-EHS Publications

Promburom, P. & Sakdapolrak, P. (2012): "Where the Rain Falls" project. Case study: Thailand – results from Thung Hua Chang District, Northern Thauland. Report No. 7 Bonn: United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security.

Rademacher-Schulz, C., Afifi, T., Warner, K., Rosenfeld, T., Milan, A., Etzold, B. & Sakdapolrak, P. (2012): Rainfall variability, food security and human mobility. An approach for generating empirical evidence. UNU-EHS Intersections No. 10., Bonn.

Afifi, T., Govil, R., Sakdapolrak, P. & Warner, K. (2012): Climate change, vulnerability and human mobility. Perspectives of refugees from the Horn of Africa. UNHCR and UNU-EHS Report No. 1, Bonn.

Butsch, C., Etzold, B. & Sakdapolrak, P. (2009): The megacity resilience framework. UNU-EHS Policy Brief, Bonn.

Sakdapolrak, P., Butsch, C., Carter, R. L., Cojocaru, M.-D., Etzold, B., Kishor, N., Lacambra, C., Reyes, M. L. & Sagala, S. (2008): The megacity resilience framework. UNU-EHS Source No. 10, Bonn, 10-19.

Sakdapolrak, P. (2007): Water related health risks, social vulnerability and Pierre Bourdieu. UNU-EHS Source No. 6, Bonn, 50-59.

Policy Brief, Working Paper

Greiner, C., Peth, S. A. & Sakdapolrak, P. (2014): Deciphering  migration  in  the  age  of  climate  change. Towards  an  understanding  of  translocal  relations  in  social- ecological  systems. In: Gesing, F., Herbeck, J. and Klepp, S. (Eds.): Denaturalizing  Climate Change: Migration,  Mobilities  and  Space. Artec-Paper Nr. 200, Bremen, 23-33.

Bohle, H.-G., Etzold, B., Keck, M. & Sakdapolrak, P. (2009): Adaptive food governance. In: IHDP-Update 3, 53-58.

Sakdapolrak, P. (2009): Alltagskampf um Gesundheit urbaner Armutsgruppen in Indien. In: DED Brief, 46 (3), 36-37.

Sakdapolrak, P. & Seyler, T. (2006): Water and Health: Struggling for survival in a South Indian Megacity. In: WHOCC Newsletter, 10, 1-4.

Sakdapolrak, P. (2002): Protection of women migrant workers. Policies of selected sending and receiving countries. World Bank, Jakarta.

Sakdapolrak, P. (2000): Labour Diary 2001. Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Bangkok.

back to the team

Latest publication:


Rockenbauch, T. & P. Sakdapolrak (2017). Social networks and the resilience of rural communities in the Global South: a critical review and conceptual reflections, Ecology and Society 22 (1):1

Featured publication:


Etzold, B. & P. Sakdapolrak (2016). Socio-spatialities of vulnerability: towards a polymorphic perspective in vulnerability research, Die Erde 147 (4), 234-251.

Sponsored by

Who we are

We are a BMBF supported research group seeking to decipher the relationships between migration, translocality, and social resilience to climate change in Thailand. Our working group is based at the Department of Geography at the University of Bonn, Germany. Get to know our team...



เรา คือ กลุ่มวิจัยฯ ภายใต้การสนับสนุนของกระทรวงศึกษาและวิจัยแห่งสหพันธ์รัฐ (BMBF) มีความสนใจในการสร้างความเข้าใจเกี่ยวกับความสัมพันธ์ระหว่างการโยกย้ายถิ่นฐาน การเชื่อมโยงระหว่างพื้นที่ และความยืนหยัดทางสังคมจากการเปลี่ยนแปลงสภาพภูมิอากาศในประเทศไทย โดยทางกลุ่มวิจัยฯ เป็นส่วนหนึ่งของภาควิชาภูมิศาสตร์ มหาวิทยาลัยบอนน์ สหพันธ์สาธารณรัฐเยอรมนี รายละเอียดเพิ่มเติม ...




Project Video