Panel 1 | Migrant Workers, Sex Workers and Refugees: Work, Space and Place
Living on the Outside: Unraveling the Paradoxes Surrounding Migrant Domestic Work in Jordan – Diana Dai
This research project will examine the institutional and ideological factors that influence the experiences of migrant domestic workers in Jordan. For a decade now, human rights groups have been invested in the increase in and subsequent exploitation of migrant domestic workers. My project will critically analyze how the institutions and discourses that make up global capitalism have made possible these incidences of violence that many believe are unrelated to ideological and/or structural factors. Using a range of methods from Marxist feminism, structural analysis, and ethnography, and focusing intimately on the context of transnational domestic work, my thesis argues that the “abuse of human rights” could be best understand as an integral and necessary reality of late global capitalism. Furthermore, structural actors (the state, the household, the supranational organization), along with migrant domestics themselves, are all embroiled in the circulation of (oppressive) discourses surrounding gender, race, and nationality which make possible the specific forms of labor exploitation we see today.
Sex Work and the Politics of Space: Case Studies of Sex Workers in Argentina and Ecuador – Jessica Van Meir
While many studies examine how different legal approaches to prostitution affect sex workers’ living and working conditions, few studies analyze how sex workers’ physical workspaces and the policies regulating these spaces influence sex work conditions. Based on interviews with 109 current or former sex workers, 13 civil society representatives, 12 government officials, and 5 other actors in Ecuador and Argentina, this study describes sex workers’ uses of urban space in the two countries and compares how they experience and respond to government regulation of locations of prostitution. Argentina and Ecuador took different approaches to regulating sex work space, which appear to reflect different political ideologies towards prostitution. Sex workers expressed different individual preferences for spaces, and government limitation of these spaces represented one of their major concerns. The results illuminate how sex workers’ workspaces influence their working conditions and suggest that governments should consider sex worker preferences in establishing policies that affect their workspaces.
Examining Mobility and Stasis Along the Balkan Route – Olivia Johnson
How do state border policies impact refugees’ mobility and wellbeing while travelling through the Western Balkans to Germany? How do these governmental policies and organizational responses to the ‘refugee crisis’ affect the individual agency of refugees travelling this route? In summer 2016 my research partner and I traveled along the Balkan route conducting semi-structured interviews with local organizations (n=24) and refugees (n=16) to explore the consequences of stasis within mobility. We heard about the personal impacts of closed borders, marginalization and deportations. While I imagined countries like Hungary were acting independently from overarching legislation like the Dublin Accords (III), I realized instead it was these very policies that permitted Hungary’s extreme admittance procedures and detention facilities. Although asylum policy is rooted in humanitarian ideals, I argue that EU asylum policies reinforce systems of incarceration through heightened surveillance, detention, and physical barriers to accessing asylum. The EU’s multi-state “shared” asylum policy exacerbates this situation through increased categorization and shifting border policies.
Panel 2 | Strategies for Promoting Rights in the U.S.: Social Movements and State Policies
Social Media as a Tool for Social Mobilization: A Case Study of Black Lives Matter, Kendra Schultz
Presently, many social movements occur by way of social media. The integration of social media into social movements is changing the methods by which movement organizations mobilize and communicate. This project seeks to understand how social movement organizations are using social media platforms to mobilize, and how social media strategies contribute to engagement with a social movement. Using a singular in-depth case study, this paper explores Black Lives Matter’s social media output on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr. This study provides insight into the output of Black Lives Matter, as well as the greater landscape of social movements through a breakdown of the effects on the Political Process Model (PPM). Ultimately, Black Lives Matter uses social media to initiate discourse and disseminate information rather than mobilize. Furthermore, a deeper analysis of the social media activity shows ambiguous implications for the Political Process Model. These findings can further guide our understanding of the future of social movements.
Measuring the Right to Food: A U.S. Policy Perspective – Samantha Night
The right to food is recognized by international law as a fundamental human right of all people. Three conditions must be met for the right to food to be realized; food must be available, accessible, and adequate. While food policy research in the United States has focused on specific elements of these conditions, the right to food has not been measured in a substantive and comprehensive way. This paper discusses the normative implications of the right to food in the United States and proposes a framework for operationalizing and measuring it domestically. Incorporating right to food principles into the development of U.S. food policy, particularly at the state and local levels, may address both structural and direct determinants of food insecurity and the prevalence of overweight and obesity. This paper takes the first step in a substantive right to food assessment of U.S. food policy by introducing an evaluation framework for use in future policy research and analysis.
The U Visa, Domestic Violence, and Law Enforcement Reporting – Kate Townsend
The U Visa allows undocumented survivors of certain violent crimes, one of which is domestic violence, a pathway to legal residence, and even citizenship, with certification that the survivor has cooperated with law enforcement. This research seeks to determine the degree to which the U Visa has had an impact on Latina survivors’ decision to report their domestic violence victimization to law enforcement, and for whom the effect was most relevant. I used difference-in-differences models to find that, with the establishment of the U Visa in 2000, there was only a statistically significant increase when controlling for the relationship with the abuser. With the implementation in 2007, there was actually a statistically significant decrease in the likelihood that a Latina survivor would report victimization from domestic violence to law enforcement.