PhD Partnership in Global Social ProtectionTransnational Studies Initiative, Harvard University, Boston — LIMITE : 15/03/2015

The world is on the move. There are an estimated 214 millioninternational migrants worldwide, up from 150 million in 2000.  On theone hand, migrants provide a low-cost and flexible workforce forreceiving countries that helps counteract worker shortages due to anaging native-born population.  On the other hand, migrant remittancesoften make important contributions to sending country development that,in some cases, far exceed international aid and are often used tocompensate for state retraction from public services and social benefits.

Yet migration also has costs.  Some of them‹including the impact of³brain drain² and an overreliance on migration and remittances insending countries‹are well researched.  Others, especially thoseassociated with social reproduction and social protection, have not beensufficiently studied.  Where and how will people on the move beprotected and provided for?  What new institutional arrangements, orforms of global social protection (GSP), are emerging?  How might thesedevelopments affect the ability and willingness of nation-states toprovide social welfare to citizens and non-citizens?

The Transnational Studies Initiative(TSI-http://seminars.wcfia.harvard.edu/tsi) at Harvard University isinvestigating questions of Global Social Protection.  We define GlobalSocial Protection as the policies, programs, organizations, andinstitutions that provide for and protect people in a transnationalmanner.  This includes grounded institutions that provide for andprotect people who move transnationally; transnational institutions thatprovide for and protect grounded individuals; and transnationalinstitutions that provide for and protect transnational individuals.  Todate, we have explored these topics with a monthly seminar series and amonthly working group.  We are hosting a conference in February 2015that will take stock of the current state-of-the-art of GSP and chart anagenda and develop collaborative research that will drive it forward.

The following are some ideas about the questions we might explore:

— How can migrants claim eligibility and access rights and protectionsoutside the traditional framework of the nation-state as provider andregulator of services? How do individuals claim rights from their homecountries when they live outside them? How do individuals get rights inreceiving countries when they are long-term non-citizens? How mighteligibility claims vary across migrants, depending on whether migrationwas forced or voluntary; migrant¹s anticipated length of stay; andmigrants¹ legal status, gender, skill-level and education, class, andsocial networks?

— As structural adjustment continues to eviscerate many state socialwelfare regimes, what transnational organizations, institutions, orsocial arrangements are filling the void? How are these newinstitutional arrangements produced?  What are the power and interestsbehind them?  How do they vary across national contexts (U.S./Mexicoversus Germany/Morocco), and across sectors (i.e., legal rights versusthe right to health and education)? Who benefits and who gets left out?

— What examples of new transnational social welfare institutions can wefind and how might we study them?  Examples may include transnationalbank accounts that allow immigrants to deposit money in the receivingcountry and their family members in the sending nation to withdraw itfor health and educational expenses; college degree or professionaltraining programs that are recognized in the home and host country; orimmigrant women¹s rights NGOs that appeal to the Convention on theElimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) or theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

— Is the situation broadly similar in the case of both international andinternal labor migration, especially in countries undergoing rapidurbanization in the context of significant regional inequality, such asChina and India?

— What are the hidden costs of migration for states, including, forexample, providing pre-migration education, the costs of health careduring and after migration, and arrangements for pensions or otherretirement benefits for individuals who spent most of their workingyears abroad?

Starting in September 2015, TSI will host one or two PhD orpost-doctoral students working on related topics who would like topartner with us on this intellectual journey. These individuals willwork with Peggy Levitt and Jocelyn Viterna (co-directors of TSI) ondeveloping these ideas, participate in all TSI activities, and bewelcome to take part in all open University seminars and publicconferences. Most of the time they will be free to pursue their ownresearch interests and interact with members of the Harvard community.TSI can offer shared office space, library privileges, visiting scholarstatus for J-1 visa applications, and intellectual engagement, but nofunding. We hope that successful candidates will stay for a minimum ofsix months.  Please feel free to be in touch if you have furtherquestions or need further information.

All interested candidates should send their resume and statement ofresearch interests to Peggy Levitt (plevitt@wellelesley.edu) and JocelynViterna (jviterna@wjh.harvard.edu) by March 15, 2015.   Selectedcandidates will be interviewed by skype in early April.


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