Start to SASE’s Annual Conference

A Report from Day 1

Yesterday marked the beginning of the Annual Conference of the Society of Advancement of Socio-Economics which is being hosted virtually this year by the Centre for Global Cooperation Research/Käthe Hamburger Kolleg, the Institute for Work, Skills and Training – IAQ and the Deutsches Institut für Interdizplinäre Sozialforschung - DIFIS at the University Duisburg-Essen. This year’s conference gathers researchers from all over the world to discuss After Covid? Critical Conjunctures and Contingent Pathways of Contemporary Capitalism. Friday’s panels started the event of with presentations of research regarding gender and racial inequalities in health prior to and during the pandemic.

Brandi Summers, Alexandre White and Jenny Douglas talked on systemic racism during the Covid-19 pandemic in the featured panel Structural Racism, Health and Covid-19. The presenters discussed the detrimental effects of the pandemic especially on Black and Latinx people in the US as well as Black and ethnic people in the UK, arguing that a lack of access to testing facilities and vaccinations is putting people at increased risk. The presenters further pointed towards proportionally higher infection rates among essential and frontline workers, who are more likely to belong to a minority group. Brandi Summers thus pointed towards the discrepancy between awareness campaigns to increase the willingness to get vaccinated targeted at African Americans while access to the necessary facilities is often restricted. Alexander White elaborated on his study by concluding that residential segregation in the US as a legacy of the Jim Crow-laws is affecting the access to health care for American Americans. In the case of the UK Jenny Douglas raised a different issue in arguing that prior to the pandemic little data had been collected along racial lines, allowing for a lack of attention given to issues such as significantly higher maternal mortality rates of Black women as opposed to white women. The presenters concluded the panel by pointing towards the elevated pressure that has been put on addressing systemic racism through the ‘Black Lives Matter’-movement as well as civil engagement in the UK and US.

If this Featured Panel made you interested to learn more, visit SASE on Youtube where some of these sessions will be uploaded after the conference!

The first conference day further offered insight into more novel subjects of research. The panel Political Economy of Colonialism Iprovided insight into the research of Bastian Becker, Dean Dulay, Felix Meier zu Selhausen and Dozie Okoye. The session sought to highlight a new string of literature analysing the long-term effects of colonialism. The panel focused on analysing the interactions between indigenous institutions, colonizers’ administration as well missionaries on the local level thus contributing the field's preliminary findings about the localized legacies of colonialism. Opening Friday's session, Bastian Becker offers an historical perspective on colonization by elaborating that when European powers began colonizing the African continent, the activity of Protestant missions from the colonizers’ metropolis increased. The presenters further referenced a variety of different fields such as education, labour market access and infrastructure which were all influenced by the missions and are still affected by colonial legacies today. Dean Dulay outlined in his paper that the presence of missions in Filipino municipalities has had lasting effects on higher levels of local development. Dozie Okoye presented research on the connection between increased access to primary education in Nigerian localities and mission presence and the reduced access to public schooling. Felix Meier zu Selhausen’s paper points towards the partial import of colonial gender roles into the colonial labour market leading to gender inequalities, which his study saw declined with the Africanization and Feminization of public services. The panellists’ research thus illuminates that the studied missions in Western Africa and the Philippines positioned themselves to take over roles of governing, thus acting as service providers and taxation authorities.

From the conference: Jasmin Schmitz