The transnational social contract in the Global South

Sadiq, K. and Tsourapas, G. (2023) The transnational social contract in the Global South. International Studies Quarterly, 67(4), sqad088. (doi: 10.1093/isq/sqad088)

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How does labor emigration affect state–society relations across postcolonial states? We argue that the opportunity to pursue employment abroad alters a fundamental component of postcolonial states—the post-independence social contract. Such states’ inability to sustain post-independence levels of welfare provision first leads to the development of “emigration management institutions,” which seek to encourage and regulate citizens’ labor emigration, and second, to the widening of the “remittance-welfare gap,” where labor emigration and remittances outpace state-sponsored welfare provision. These mark the emergence of a “transnational social contract,” as states leverage access to employment abroad in exchange for social and political acquiescence. This de-territorialization of the postcolonial social contract leads to de jure and de facto forms of state coercion toward its citizens/migrants, who are commodified by the market-based logic of transnational neo-patrimonialism. We test this argument through a paired comparison and within-case analysis across two postcolonial states in South Asia and the Middle East: Nepal and Jordan. We offer an interregional, South–South migration analysis and a novel framework of understanding the politics of mobility across non-Western states as “migration from below,” which acts as a corrective to the dominance of South–North migration research in international studies.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Gerasimos Tsourapas’ research is funded by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) (Grant reference No. EP/X019667/1), a 2022–2023 Independent Social Research Foundation Small Group Project Grant, as well as a 2022 Pilot Study Grant by the Council for British Research in the Levant. The author gratefully acknowledges this support.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Tsourapas, Professor Gerasimos
Authors: Sadiq, K., and Tsourapas, G.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:International Studies Quarterly
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1468-2478
Published Online:02 November 2023
Copyright Holders:Copyright © The Author(s) (2023)
First Published:First published in International Studies Quarterly 67(4):sqad088
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
319514The International Politics of Mobility SanctionsGerasimos TsourapasEPSRC EU Guarantee (EPSRCEU)EP/X019667/1S&PS - Politics