Global Cooperation and Migration

A Report from Day 3

Sunday marked the third day of the Annual Conference of the Society for Advancement of Socio-Economics. The day was once again filled with inspiring panels presenting research about today’s most pressing issues. The day was further filled with presentations about possible future pathways addressing  how to embark despite an uncertain outlook.

The Featured Panel Migration during and After the Covid-19 Pandemic offered an insightful discussion on the challenges faced by migrant workers, the changes in attitude during the pandemic and possibilities to change migration policies. Biao Xiang started this session by pointing towards the need for more attention to be given to mobility during times of lockdown as especially migrant workers were affected. He therefore argues that logistical power is needed to provide society with alternative mobility in such situations where mobility needs to configurated. Ito Peng went on with the observation that migrant workers can be over-represented working as essential workers, making society reliant on their contribution while the workers are placed to in an environment with little protections remain invisible. She argued that migrant workers are often categorized as low-skilled during the visa application process, making access to permanent residence difficult; she thus argues that in immigration processes it is important to question who is prioritized and for which reasons. Brenda Yeoh continued the panel with detailing the hardships that the pandemic has caused for migrant workers including increased racist attacks against them. She suggests that longer stays should be facilitated for migrant workers as well social integration and safety nets as part of the national labour supply, and that technological substitutes for low-skilled migrant workers should be provided. Martin Ruhs concluded this session with a discussion of systemic resilience in which he also argued that the definition of low-skilled labour migration needs to be re-thought and its importance needs to be further researched. He argues that the conversation should shift from debating skill shortages at the national level to asking–within a cross-national context–if the system is resilient enough keep on producing a service.

If you would like to learn more about the interesting panels featured at this year’s conference, visit SASE on Youtube!

The panel 'Imagining Pathways for Global Cooperation' presented a novel approach to the study of global cooperation, which puts imagination and reflexivity at the centre. The various contributions explored how global cooperation is shaped by the ways in which we interpret, narrate and envision its nature, conditions and evolution. As Katja Freistein explained in the introductory presentation, this implies a shift of focus from pre-defined outcomes to processes of global cooperation. Imagined pathways (which can be expressed in various forms, including narratives, artefacts and scenarios) have effects on the processes of cooperation, for example with regard to their normative, cognitive and emotional aspects. The subsequent presentations showed how such effects can be observed in various fields of global cooperation. In her presentation, Bettina Mahlert analysed the emergence of the Human Development Index as an alternative to the fixation on per capita income. She interpreted this innovation as one of several possible pathways of imagining development. Maryam Deloffre focused on standard-setting for quality and accountability, particularly the SPHERE Project, as a way of imagining better humanitarian action. Her presentation showed how reflexivity produced new pathways to cooperation and collective action through a critical emotional event, namely the failures of the humanitarian sector in view of the Rwandan genocide. In the last presentation of the panel, Christine Unrau explored how Wim Wenders’s documentary 'The Flight' contributed to and reflected on the imagination of a different form of cooperation in global migration politics.

The panel offered insights from the book 'Imagining Pathways for Global Cooperation', edited by Katja Freistein, Bettina Mahlert, Sigrid Quack and Christine Unrau, which is forthcoming with Edward Elgar in 2022.

From the conference: Jasmin Schmitz

Upcoming Event

Border Violence: The Case of Melilla

4th Global Migration Lecture

Dr Estela Schindel
Associate Professor and Academic Coordinator of the Viadrina Institute for European Studies (IFES), Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)

Discussant:  Dr Bidisha Biswas
Professor of Political Science, Western Washington University & Senior Research Fellow at KHK/GCR21

Moderator:  Dr Volker Heins

Tuesday, 6th July 2021 (18:30–20:00, CEST) | Online Lecture via Zoom – Access will be provided after registration for the event.

> Further Information and Registration