Scholar in Residence

Scholars in Residence zeichnen sich durch herausragende wissenschaftliche Leistungen aus und verfolgen ein Forschungsprojekt, das thematisch an die Schwerpunkte der Forschung am MPIfG anschließt.

Prof. Karen Shire, PhD

Prof. Karen Shire, PhD

Scholar in Residence 2021/22

Karen Shire ist Professorin für Vergleichende Soziologie und die Gesellschaft Japans und Mitglied des Instituts für Ostasienwissenschaften an der Universität Duisburg-Essen. Sie ist Direktorin des Essener Kollegs für Geschlechterforschung und im Wintersemester 2021/2022 Scholar in Residence am MPIfG. Ihre Forschung befasst sich mit nationalen, transnationalen und interregionalen Vergleichen von Beschäftigungsveränderungen und ihren Auswirkungen auf soziale Ungleichheiten in der globalen Wirtschaft. Ihre neuere Forschung betrachtet die Entstehung grenzüberschreitender Arbeitsmärkte in Europa und im asiatisch-pazifischen Raum, die Entstehung und den Wandel von Geschlechterregimen in konservativen Wohlfahrtsstaaten sowie die politische Ökonomie von informeller und erzwungener Arbeit. Während ihres Aufenthalts am MPIfG bietet sie eine Vortragsreihe an.

Vortragsreihe  „Regulating Transnational Labor“

In ihrer Vortragsreihe Regulating Transnational Labor behandelt Karen Shire die Möglichkeiten und Herausforderungen der Regulierung grenzüberschreitender Arbeitsmobilität in der globalen Wirtschaft. Während die Migrationsforschung häufig für freie Mobilität plädiert, kritisiert die Arbeitswissenschaft, dass mit grenzüberschreitender Arbeit hart erkämpfter Arbeitsschutz umgangen und untergraben wird. Shire zeigt die Widersprüche zwischen der Liberalisierung der Arbeitsmobilität und der Regulierung der Beschäftigung auf. Ihr Schwerpunkt liegt auf der theoretischen Betrachtung der regulatorischen Herausforderungen, die sich aus einer grenzüberschreitenden Arbeitsmobilität ergeben, sowie auf der Bewertung der Regulierungspraktiken, die sich auf transnationaler Ebene herausbilden. Die Vorträge finden am 7., 14. und 21. Juni 2022, jeweils um 17:00 Uhr im Konferenzraum des MPIfG statt. Anmeldung unter info@mpifg.de.

 

Ausgewählte Veröffentlichungen

 

In her lecture series Karen Shire develops an economic sociological approach to the making and regu­lation of transnational labor markets in the global economy. What makes the cross-border mobility of migrant labor possible is the subject of migration infrastructures research, while labor market scholars have restricted their analyses to migrants in the context of national labor market institutions. In their approaches to regulation, migration scholars often advocate for free movement, while labor scholars focus on how cross-border labor threatens hard-won labor protections. Karen Shire’s three lectures seek to gain leverage on the contradictions between liberalizing labor mobility and regulating employment across territorial jurisdictions by drawing on research exploring the organization and coordination of cross-border labor markets, and the interface between legal and illegal market exchanges. Empirically the talks draw on historical research on the emergence of modern labor markets, contemporary research on labor governance, and her own empirical studies of cross-border labor mobility in the Asia Pacific and the European Union.

 

Dienstag, 7. Juni 2022 | Theorizing Regulatory Challenges of Transnational Labor
An increasing share of migration no longer results in immigration and settlement, but takes the form of temporary and circular exchanges of labor across borders. Examples include posted work, labor subcontracting, cross-border temporary staffing, illegal forms of forced and trafficked labor, but also “medium-skilled” industrial and service work. Building on theoretical discussions in the economic sociology of markets and labor sociology, Shire proposes a reconceptualization of migration as the organization of cross-border labor markets. The lecture focuses on the multiplicity of market-making actors, the coordination problems specific to the transnational exchange of labor power, and regulatory challenges and solutions in a comparative transnational perspective.

Recommended for preparatory reading:

 

Dienstag, 14. Juni 2022 | Cross-Border Labor Market Intermediaries
The focus of the second lecture is on one set of dominant actors in the making and operation of cross-border labor markets – labor market intermediaries. Historical research documents the dominant role of intermediaries in the formation of national labor markets, with international conventions from the interwar period establishing a monopoly for public labor exchanges. This changed in the 1990s, when the International Labour Organization reversed course with a convention legitimating private fee-charging employment services. The lecture examines how private intermediaries have become dominant actors in the recruitment for and operation of cross-border labor markets, the multiplicity of forms now taken by cross-border intermediation, and the struggles to protect workers who use their services. While most studies of regulatory efforts have been situated on the demand side, and covered the employment relation, recent research about labor recruitment in the Asia Pacific points to the regulatory agency of sending states and the regulation of the commercial side of exchanges for improving labor protections.

Recommended for preparatory reading:

  • Shire, Karen, Steffen Heinrich, Jun Imai, Hannelore Mottweiler, Markus Tünte, and Chih-Chieh Wang. 2018. "Private Labor Market Intermediaries in Cross-Border Labor Markets in Europe and Asia: International Norms, Regional Actors and Patterns of Cross-Border Labor Mobility." In Transnationale Arbeit, edited by Sigrid Quack, Ingo Schulz-Schaeffer, Karen Shire, and Anja Weiss, 155–83. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

 

Dienstag, 21. Juni 2022 | Trafficked, Forced, and Informalized Labor
The extreme exploitation of labor in the form of trafficked, forced, or informalized employment has pervaded the labor-intensive, low-wage segments of labor markets across the global economy. While the discussion of regulatory pathways in this series of lectures so far has attributed challenges to gaps in international conventions and national/sectoral regulations, in this domain, international rules and normative principles are extensive and widely shared. Moreover, extreme exploitation is not confined to the institutionally thinner labor market contexts of the developing world. The available statistics suggest that a large share of trafficked labor is situated in Europe, and occurs between the EU member states. Why then, does extreme exploitation persist, even where conventions are ratified, norms become guiding principles, and employment is heavily regulated at the national level? In this last lecture, the persistence of forced and informalized labor in the advanced economies is explained in relation to the intersection of employment regulation with mobility infrastructures and the gender regime, with evidence taken from comparative research on the regulation of prostitution and welfare markets for domestic/care labor in Europe.
 
Publication recommended for preparatory reading:

 

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