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Publications

Journal Articles

Abstract

The recruitment and deployment of migrant fishers in distant waters (DW) fisheries has emerged as a significant site for the production of unfree labor relations. We trace the recruitment and deployment geographies of migrant fishers from the Philippines to the vessel, conceptualizing the time-spaces of the journey as a significant site for producing unfree labor. We argue that labor brokerage not only establishes the conditions of the labor contract and financialization of migration in the migrants’ home country but is also an ongoing process that intensifies unfreedom through the journey to deployment across multiple sites and temporalities. We conceptualize this movement into exploitative laboring situations as “funnels of unfreedom.” The production of unfreedom through the geographies of recruitment, harboring, and transportation to the destination is one strategy by which DW fleets can reduce costs. The relevance of this discussion extends to other sectors where complex labor brokerage geographies constrain migrant worker choices and fortify unfreedom in labor relations.

Citation: Sallie Yea, Christina Stringer and Wayne Palmer. 2022. Funnels of Unfreedom: Time-Spaces of Recruitment and (Im)Mobility in the Trajectories of Trafficked Migrant Workers. Annals of the American Association of Geographers.

The article is available here.

Abstract

This article introduces two case studies of underage transporters from Indonesia, who brought asylum seekers to Australia by boat and thus were convicted and jailed for the crime of people smuggling. In light of the hyper-politicised issue of people smuggling and the need to find punishable perpetrators, transporters have become the main target of anti-people-smuggling law enforcement. Both transporters came from poor families and started working early on in their lives, which also involved their deceptive recruitment into people-smuggling networks. But the outcome of their prosecutions differs substantially, not least, as one of them was convicted in an Australian court and the other in Indonesia. In this article, we problematise the culpability of underage smugglers and argue for more lenient treatment by law-enforcement authoritie

Citation: Antje Missbach and Wayne Palmer. 2022. Scapegoating juvenile ‘people smugglers’ from Indonesia: Poverty, crime, and punishment. Pacific Geographies. 57(February): 4-10. 

The article is available here.

Abstract

Employment relations systems generally fail to enforce all legal rights of migrant workers. This article illustrates a broader approach to the way labour migration is regulated in practice, using the example of migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong. Political economists have shown that the reality of low-wage migration is either ‘more rights, less access’ or ‘fewer rights, greater access’ in terms of rights enforcement systems. Attention to the effectiveness of such mechanisms and processes reveals another feature of regulation: the divergence of theory from practice. Much scholarly attention has been paid to rights, and this analysis, in which enforcement of those rights is sought, contributes to the literature with a frequently-occurring example of how such regulatory practices effectively restrict migrant rights. The article concludes by arguing that regulation uses employers as a further ‘mechanism of control’ to determine the actual quantity and quality of migrant workers’ employment rights regardless of what is stipulated in the law.

Citation: Wayne Palmer and Carol Tan. 2022. I’m keeping my baby: Migrant domestic worker rights at the intersection of labour and immigration laws. Trans: Trans-Regional and National Studies of Southeast Asia. DOI 10.1017/trn.2022.1.

The article is available here.

Abstract

Scholars have devoted insufficient attention to Indonesia's foreign policy on migrant worker protection, especially as mobilized in multilateral institutions. This article addresses such knowledge gaps by analyzing why Indonesia has, for almost two decades, persistently promoted the United Nations Migrant Worker Convention in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) despite constant pushback from migrant-receiving countries. It argues that Indonesia's persistence is driven by its locally constituted meaning of migrant worker rights. In particular, this article advances the critical norms approach in international relations to demonstrate that its interpretation is influenced by "Indonesia's normative baggage," or past experiences with labour migration that have too frequently dealt with the exploitation of Indonesian citizens abroad. This normative baggage in turn shapes the country's diplomacy and promotion of convention standards deemed appropriate for safeguarding Indonesian migrants in ASEAN. In presenting the argument, this article contributes to the study of labour migration by scrutinizing Indonesia's foreign policy on migrant protection and unpacking norm interpretation processes that are necessary in international negotiations.

Citation: Ruji Auethavornpipat and Wayne Palmer. 2022. Indonesia’s Promotion of UN Migrant Protection Norms in ASEAN. Pacific Affairs. 95(1): 75-92.

The article is available here.

Abstract

In São Paolo's ancient center, squats provide protective spaces to thousands of residents who cannot or do not want to access the formal and highly gentrified housing market. At the same time, these formerly abandoned buildings are also a site of the political struggle and claim the right to decent communal living. This paper traces the motives and aspirations of different types of squatters, such as activists, internal and international migrants as well as refugees. Through the notion of "aspirational anxieties" it concentrates on the uncomfortable emergence and recognition of power asymmetries inherent in the affective dimensions of solidarian future-making. By showing how dis- and emplacement are experienced by actors with contrasting and eventually irreconcilable biographical experiences, this paper warns against a normative understanding of the notion of displacement.

 

Citation: Drotbohm. Heike 2021: “Not a cozy dwelling”: Exploring Aspirational Anxieties and the Politics of Displacement in São Paulo’s Squats. Humanity. An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development. Vol. 12 (3): 354-367.

 

The article is available here.

Abstract

In this article, we draw on the volatile complexity of African migrant trajectories in Central America to broaden the scope of transnational scholarship. These trajectories are characterised by mobilities as well as immobilities, taking shape in particular local contexts. By focusing on the interplays between displacement and emplacement that are part of these trajectories, we aim to increase our understanding of the extent to which migrants still ‘on the move’ experience both temporal embeddedness and cross-border connectedness, thereby acknowledging and unravelling transnational lives as they ‘touch the ground’ en route. To do so, we build on long-standing scholarly commitments in Central and South America and recent field research in Costa Rica. We go into selected empirical cases to discuss the dynamics of travelling, dwelling and travelling again as part of African migrant trajectories across Central America. We then explore the value of a ‘shifting’ transnational social field perspective and indicate some challenges for future trajectory research.

 

Citation: Drotbohm, Heike & Nanneke Winters 2021: A shifting yet grounded transnational social field: interplays of displacement and emplacement in African migration trajectories across Central America. Population, Space and Place, Vol. 29 (5), Doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/psp.2421
 

The article is available here.

Abstract

The Limits of Solidarity. Technologies of Government in Times of CoronaThis paper uses the COVID-19 pandemic to reflect on the relationship between gov-ernance and solidarity. It considers how a social model based on self-regulating in-dividuals has been complemented by a new form of state dirigisme reliant on evo-cations of solidarity. However, this configuration may be approaching the limits of itsviability. Given that governance relies on the robust internalization and execution ofboth care and control and on an ethos of renunciation, especially among the middleand upper classes, the paper proposes the need for analyses that better incorporateconcepts of social inequality.

 

Citation: Drotbohm, Heike & Sven Reichardt 2020: Die Grenzen der Solidarität. Regierungstechniken in Zeiten von Corona. In: Geschichte und Gesellschaft, Vol. 46 (3): 404-415.
 

The article is available here.

Book Chapters

Summary

To care about and for others—that is other people, collectivities, plants, animals, or the climate—is a mundane and ubiquitous act. At some point in life, almost every human being needs to be cared for, encounters care, and eventually provides care. In anthropology, the critical notion of care provides an analytic tool for seriously considering life’s contingencies and for understanding the ways that people ascribe meaning to different kind of acts, attitudes, and values. This chapter argues that the concept’s normative dimension forms part of a cultural binarism that hierarchizes the world according to differently valued spheres of existence. Concentrating on this normativity as inherent to the notion, the chapter distinguishes three complementary empirical fields: care as (globalized) social reproduction, care as institutionalized asymmetry, and care beyond human exceptionalism. It becomes clear that care oscillates between two different perspectives, producing a particular tension. On the one hand, the care concept features a protective and conservative dimension that is congruent with the past. On the other hand, the concept incorporates a transformational dimension through its notions of development, progress, and improvement. To move beyond our own (potentially or inevitably) academic, Eurocentric, or human-centric understanding of the notion, this essay suggests moving “care beyond repair.” We can do so, first, by asking what role research plays in this differentiating ethics and, second, by identifying perspectives and positionalities that, at first glance, appear indistinct or inarticulate and hence do not confirm already-familiar categories of evaluation and distinction. Seen this way, care beyond repair draws attention to the making and unmaking of human existence.

 

Citation: Drotbohm, Heike 2022: Care beyond Repair. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Anthropology. New York: Oxford University Press.

 

The chapter is available here.

Blog Posts

The article is available here.

Citation: Wayne Palmer and Benni Yusriza. 2022. The government now has a much-needed regulation on the recruitment of migrant fishers from Indonesia. What next? The Conversation, 1 July. Available at https://theconversation.com/the-government-now-has-a-much-needed-regulation-on-the-recruitment-of-migrant-fishers-from-indonesia-what-next-181946.
 

The blog post is available here.

The blog post is available here.

Citation: Ulrike Krause (2020), The Consequences of COVID-19 for Forced Migration and Refugees – A new Series on the FluchtforschungsBlog, FluchtforschungsBlog, 30.05.2020

Working Papers

Abstract

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected refugees and their protection? To respond to this question, we conducted a study using a qualitative questionnaire in six countries in East Africa, Southern Africa and West Africa, namely Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe. In this paper, we explore the information provided by the 90 respondents and focus on three main areas. We first address vulnerable groups and the new, additional and prolonged challenges, as well as potential tensions among refugees and between refugees and host communities due to the pandemic. We then turn to refugee protection by regional, state and humanitarian actors and the influence of donors during the pandemic, showing that aid has been strongly limited. Moreover, we argue in the third part of the paper that refugees represent important actors; refugee-led community-based responses are highly relevant for the people across the six countries for delivering material and immaterial assistance and also mitigating tensions and contributing to peaceful environments.

The working paper is available here.

Citation: Segadlo, Nadine, Krause, Ulrike, Zanker, Franzisca, Edler, Hannah (2021), '‘Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on refugees and their protection in Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe', ABI Working Papers, No. 18.

Abstract

The Kenyan Ministry of Interior recently urged international agencies to close down the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps in Kenya, once again. This comes at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has already placed great burdens on the lives and livelihoods of refugees and intensified uncertainties. To better understand how the pandemic has affected refugees in Kenya, this paper discusses results from a recent qualitative questionnaire on refugee protection in light of COVID-19. We find that the pandemic has exacerbated existing challenges, and partly created new ones. Economic issues and the anxiety that accompanies them have intensified due to lockdowns, restricted movements and business closures. Aid was scaled down and funding cuts further complicated conditions. Although refugees are noted to be important actors in responding to the pandemic, resulting difficulties partly contribute to tensions among refugees, as well as between refugee and host communities. Refugees report an increase in the risks of violence as well as being stigmatized as carriers of the virus, in addition to continued competition over resources with host communities. Thus, risks for refugees would certainly intensify if the camps were to be closed. No matter how things develop further, the safety and representation of refugees should be at the front and center of any possible developments.

The working paper is available here.

Citation: Segadlo, Nadine/Krause, Ulrike/Zanker, Franzisca/Edler, Hannah (2021): “Everyone was overwhelmed by the fears and the panic of the unknown disease”. Kenyan Refugee Protection and the COVID-19 Pandemic. IMIS Working Paper 10, Institut für Migrationsforschung und Interkulturelle Studien (IMIS) der Universität Osnabrück. Osnabrück: IMIS.


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