The Transnational Social Contract in the Global South

Kamal Sadiq, UC-Irvine
Gerasimos Tsourapas, University of Glasgow

How does labor emigration affect state-society relations across postcolonial states of the Global South? We argue that the opportunity to pursue employment abroad alters a fundamental part of postcolonial states – the post-independence social contract. These states’ inability to sustain post-independence levels of welfare provisions led, firstly, to the development of emigration management institutions that sought to encourage and regulate citizens’ labor emigration, and secondly, the widening of a remittance–welfare gap, once labor emigration and remittances outpace state-sponsored welfare provision. These mark the emergence of a transnational social contract, where citizens’ access to employment abroad is leveraged by states in exchange for political acquiescence. Sending states ‘transnationalize’ the obligations of a domestic social contract as labor mobility substitutes for weak state welfare. The transnational social contract framework reveals the emergence of de jure and de facto forms of transnational coercion by sending states towards migrant labor. We test this argument across two postcolonial states in South Asia and the Middle East: Nepal and Jordan. We offer an interregional analysis that acts as a corrective to the dominance of South-North migration research and provide a novel framework on the impact of migration upon non-Western states

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 51. Migration Regimes: Bringing the Global South Back in to Correct Migration Myopias