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Denise L. Spitzer

Migration has expanded dramatically in recent decades concomitant the rise of neoliberal globalisation, which is characterised by intensified, multi-sited, and uneven flows of people, materials and ideas across boundaries and borders, and the demand for an increasingly flexible and migratory labour force. The dynamic interactions of gender, racialised status, socioeconomic class, ethnicity and/or country of origin, underpin the hierarchy that generally constitutes the global migrant labour force. Often the precariousness of their work situations in their homelands is replaced by precarious employment in a new setting where as migrant labourers they earn low wages, are seldom granted employment benefits and have little control over their work environments. Precarious work and all it implies, compounded by a paucity of social support, exposure to noxious social and physical environments and poor access to health services, act as stressors that are taken up by the body. The stress of migration and the subsequent health outcomes that result are wrought – and contextualised – by neoliberal globalisation and informed by gendered, racialist and neoliberal ideologies and discourses. The social distribution of these effects suggests that an intersectional lens is essential in order to comprehend the complexity of the interactions among gender, health and migration in our current context.

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Marry-Anne Karlsen

Despite children’s position in Western discourse as particularly needing and deserving of state protection, irregular migrant children are increasingly negatively impacted by the attempts of many Western countries to manage and control unwanted migration by restricting access to welfare. Using Norway as a case study, the chapter examine how the tension between a state’s interest in controlling its borders and its commitments to protecting children is negotiated in the encounter between healthcare service providers and irregular migrant children with complex health needs. Examining this case, the chapter argues that healthcare providers are reconfigured, not only as border guards, but also into what Butler (2004) calls ‘petty sovereigns’, namely professionals who have important say on matters of life and death, but who does not necessarily control the aims that animate their actions. Delegating the decision to include or exclude the children from healthcare onto healthcare providers further depoliticize the sensitive question of healthcare to migrant children who are present within the state’s borders without authorization. As such, the Norwegian case illustrates how the treatment of irregular migrant children, caught in the tension between states’ commitments to protecting children and their desire to limit unwanted migration, becomes not only a complex and urgent question for policymakers in Western countries seeking to limit migration, but also for frontline service providers.

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Jo Vearey

The relationship between population mobility, migration and HIV is one that is both complex and contested. This has particular relevance for the sub-Saharan African (SSA) region, a setting associated with a generalised HIV epidemic and a high prevalence of diverse population movements. In 2015, the SSA region remains home to the largest number of people living with HIV and – while some successes have been reported, such as increased numbers of people on treatment, fewer deaths, and a reduction in new cases of HIV per year – challenges remain to the development and implementation of effective combination prevention interventions. In this chapter, the role of contemporary population mobility in mediating the HIV epidemic in SSA is explored and recommendations for action to assist in strengthening responses to HIV – including the call for migration-aware programming – in the region are presented. In line with renewed calls for a focus on the structural drivers of HIV, this is a critical time – a strategic opportunity – for (re)focusing on structural drivers of HIV; population mobility is one such prevalent structural reality associated with the SSA region that affects HIV policy and programming in multiple ways.

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Robin E. Best and Michael D. McDonald

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Jacob Spallek, Anna Reeske, Hajo Zeeb and Oliver Razum

In this chapter we discuss the ways in which the health situation of individuals with a migrant background differs from that of the autochthonous, non-migrated population. We focus on current explanatory models, using the healthy migrant effect and the model of migration as health transition as our examples. Furthermore, we present selected empirical evidence and describe further factors, notably socioeconomic status and gender, as well as methodological aspects that are important for a valid description, analysis and interpretation of the health of migrants. Importantly, we argue for a life course model of migrant health that incorporates these aspects, moving well beyond snapshot assessments of health status of migrants.

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Jan Kleinnijenhuis

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Kathryn Davidson and Brendan Gleeson

Urban sustainability has become an increasingly compelling issue for a human species that is now predominantly urban. Several contemporary influences are asserting the importance of urban action to achieve sustainability and improve species well-being generally: the new urban literature referenced as “urbanology”; powerful new urban coalitions like the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group; and key international organizations, including the OECD, World Bank, and to a lesser extent UN-Habitat. From a critical social science perspective, it is apparent that, while avowing sustainability, these new urban assertions are freighted with, if not completely determined by, the assumptions and norms of neoliberalism, which progressive thought holds destructive to urban progress and well-being. We argue that these new and influential urban schemes and visions fail to comprehensively engage with the imperatives of critical social science, including debates about social equity, a failing human ecology and urban citizenship. The prospect of rapid continuing planetary urbanization, most of it irrevocably removed from the natural environment, suggests a need to rethink conventional approaches, institutional systems and the level of resources dedicated to human development in such crowded, dynamic spaces. Critical social science insists that these paradoxes and challenges are not merely systemic or technical but social in origin and solution. Moreover, we argue that the political questions that define socio-ecological trajectories require serious consideration. The human urban challenge raises the political ecology of change at the species level. Realization of sustainability requires a deep transformation of the structures underlying what is currently termed human progress. It is important therefore to critically appraise and challenge the new urban assertions that threaten to commit us to the disastrously failing path of neoliberalism.

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Rafael E. Pizarro

Sustainable urbanism has become the byword for green cities on both sides of the Atlantic. Although in Europe and North America there is agreement that sustainable urbanism is about pedestrianism, bicyclism, compact urban form, medium to high densities, mass public transport, mixed land uses, among other such prescriptions, the approach to these aspects differ in both continents. This chapter compares the elements of sustainable urbanism on both sides of the Atlantic as specified in the academic and professional literature identifying commonalities and differences. It concludes with a proposal for a combined set of prescriptions that, with contextual changes, may lead to a more robust normative theory of sustainable cities.

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Alison Reid

Of today’s 232 million international migrants, half are estimated to be economically active, highlighting the importance of work and the quest for decent work as a driver of migration. Migrant workers tend to cluster at the bottom and top of their destination country occupational hierarchies, and occupational health and safety conditions vary greatly among these workers. However, globally, the majority of migrant workers are young and unskilled and, in many destination countries, tend to work in jobs in agriculture, construction, food processing and in semi-skilled or low-skilled manufacturing and low-paid service sector jobs. Industries such as agriculture, construction and transport have traditionally been the source of most work-related accidents, injuries and exposure to workplace hazards. Excess work-related accidents, injuries and fatalities have been reported among migrant workers compared with native-born workers from many countries. Similarly, exposure to workplace hazards, such as exposure to carcinogens, or precarious work, shift work or carrying heavy loads has been reported more often among migrant than native-born workers. A range of factors at the macro-level (e.g., labour market and employment conditions), the level of the organisation and the job, as well as characteristics of the migrant are discussed to explain their impact on the observed disparities in occupational health and safety of migrant workers compared with native-born workers.