Most writings on refugee economy or the immigrant economy refer to changes in the immigrant labour absorption policies of the Western governments. In these writings the refugee economy or the immigrant economy never features directly; refugees are seen as economic actors in the market. But we do not get a full picture of why capitalism in late twentieth or early twenty first century needs these refugee or immigrant labour as economic actors. The organic link between the immigrant as an economic actor and the global capitalist economy seems to escape the analysis in these writings. Yet, if immigration policies produce precarious labour, this has general significance for the task of theorising the migrant as living labour. The question of the production of living labour is important because it puts in a critical perspective the necessity of the states and the international regime of protection to synchronise the economic and the political strategies of protection. Yet the disjuncture between the two strategies of protection is not only typical of the postcolonial parts of the globe, the disjuncture is evident in the developed countries. Globally, one can say, capital sets in motion movements of labour within a specific field of force that dictates how and why migrant labour is to be harnessed, disciplined, and governed (for instance the dominant presence of immigrant labour in logistics, health care, agriculture, etc.), and that shapes the links between “strategies” (that control migrants once they are in motion) and the mechanisms that set these movements in motion.
Speaker: Ranabir Samaddar, O’Brien Fellow in Residence
Ranabir Samaddar belongs to the critical school of thinking and is considered as one of the foremost theorists in the field of migration and forced migration studies. The much-acclaimed The Politics of Dialogue (2004) was a culmination of his long work on justice, rights, and peace.He is currently the Distinguished Chair in Migration and Forced Migration Studies, Calcutta Research Group, India.
Respondent: Megan Bradley, Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Development Studies at McGill University.
Professor Bradley’s research focuses on the rights and wellbeing of refugees and internally displaced persons, as well as on questions of transitional justice, reconciliation, and accountability for human rights violations. She holds a doctorate in International Relations from St Antony’s College, University of Oxford, and is the author of Refugee Repatriation: Justice, Responsibility and Redress (Cambridge University Press, 2013). In late 2015, Megan published a book entitled Forced Migration, Reconciliation and Justice with MQUP which explores the harsh reality that more people were displaced globally in early 2015 by conflict and human rights violations than at any time since the Second World War.
Respondent: Hanna Haile, Steinberg Post-Doctoral Fellow at the McGill Center for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism.
Hanna Haile’s research and writing interests lie in the fields of international human rights, migration, environmental law, sustainability and intellectual property rights, with a particular interest on the question of how cultural phenomena shape and are shaped by law. Recently, she has been working on a project on the impacts of the activities of copper mining companies on communities living on the Copperbelt of Zambia. She holds a J.S.D. and an LL.M. from Cornell Law School and LL.B. from the University of Asmara. Prior to joining the McGill Center for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, she has worked for the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, Cornell University, the University of Asmara and the High Court of Asmara in Eritrea.