Two slivers

October 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

Jed explains how one guy runs a club night downstairs in Ryan’s Bar and measures his success by how many people he has to turn away because there is limited space. “He could move to a larger venue, but he doesn’t want to. Doing so might kill the goose that lays the golden egg.”


He tells me of one method he uses for finishing classes and eliciting student evaluation: he throws a hacky sack to a student and asks them to tell one thing they learned in that class, then they have to say the name of another student and throw it to them, and they tell one different thing.


Dear Shiraz

October 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

The following is the content of an email I have been trying unsuccessfully to email to a friend; I am posting it here so that she can see it.

Dear Shiraz,

As I mentioned on the phone, at present I have some teaching work. I am teaching a course on International Development at the Institute of Ismaili Studies. In this course I am giving a lecture on the relationship between migration and development, and because you mentioned you are doing some work on labour migration I thought it might be good to try to involve you in that class in some way. I wanted to do this because the students had asked if there could be guest lecturers with experience of working on the issues we are discussing in class.
The idea I had was that we could have a 20 minute skype call with you in which the students could ask you questions about labour migration and the work your organisation has been doing in relation to this, and you could respond to their questions. If we did this then you and I should talk further about the students’ background and requirements, so that you don’t go into it “blind”.
However, this isn’t the only way of involving you. Another possibility would be that you simply present a mini-lecture on the work your organisation has been doing with migrant labour. If we did it this way, you could prepare something and either present it “live” – e.g. through a phone call – or we could record your lecture as a digital audio file, and then I could play that file to the students. I think this might be a much easier way of doing it, because you could prepare what you want to say at your own convenience. Doing it this way would also remove the need for you to be available on the phone/skype at the time the class takes place: we could record the lecture beforehand, whenever is suitable for you.
As I said on the phone, if it is difficult for you to do the lecture this week, we can offer it to the students later in the course (i.e. at some later point in October or November) – so please do let me know if you would like to do this later rather than now.
Below I have included the reading list for the week we are discussing migration and development. I will send you soft copies of some of these readings if we can find a way for me to do so.
Thank you for considering doing this. Have a think about it, and let me know what you want to do.
Best wishes
Week 4: Migration and Development

Development is an explicitly spatial relationship on a global scale. At the heart of this relationship lie nation-states and their geographical boundaries, the policing of which is essential for the maintenance of the condition of uneven global development. This week – and following on explicitly from the world systems and underdevelopment theories explored in week 3 – we consider perspectives on the geography of development, with a special emphasis on borders, nationalism, statelessness, and territorialisation, exploring the relationship between development and space through the positing of critical questions about the world order in which development occurs. Is control over immigration intrinsically connected to the reproduction of global inequality? Why are immigrants and refugees created as a problem and in what sense do they threaten the “natural order of things?” How and when are borders more permeable to commodity and capital flows than they are to people? In what ways are immigration controls a new form of global apartheid?

This week’s lecture and required readings focus on two types of migration as they relate to development. The first type is migration from developing countries to developed, diasporas or ‘nations living in different places’ (Spencer 2004). Here a key point is how diasporas relate back to the ‘mother country’, and we will discuss the particular ways in which migration from developing world to developed has fuelled the growth of Faith-based Organisations (FBOs). The second type of migration is internal labour migration, and here our concern is with why it is that this is an issue largely neglected by state and non-state development interventions (Mosse et al. 2002; Mosse et al. 2005; Shah 2006).

Essay question:

“Migration is an invisible development issue.” Discuss with examples.

Required reading:

Merz, Barbara J., Lincoln C. Chen and Peter F. Geithner 2007. Overview: Diasporas and development. In Barbara J. Merz, Lincoln C. Chen and Peter F. Geithner eds. Diasporas and Development. London: Harvard University Press


Mosse, David, Sanjeev Gupta, Mona Mehta, Vidya Shah, Julia Rees and KRIBP Project Team 2002. Brokered Livelihoods: Debt, labour migration and development in Tribal Western India Journal of Development Studies 38: 5, 59-88


Shah, Alpa 2006. The Labour of Love: Seasonal migration from Jharkhand to the brick kilns of other states in India Contributions to Indian Sociology 40: 1

Further reading:

Anderson, Benedict 1983. Imagined Communities. New York: Verso

Arrighi, Giovanni. The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power, and the Origins of Our Times. London and New York: Verso

Balibar, Etienne and Immanuel Maurice Wallerstein 1991. Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities. London: Verso Press.

Binford, Leigh 2003. Migrant Remittances and (Under)Development in Mexico. Critique of Anthropology 23: 3, 305-336.

Bornstein, Avram S. 2002. Borders and the Utility of Violence: State Effects on the ‘Superexploitation’ of West Bank Palestinians. Critique of Anthropology 22: 2, 201-220.

Bowen, John 2010. Nothing to Fear: Misreading Islamic immigration in Europe Boston Review January/February, pp. 39-40

Bowen, John 2008. Europe. In Andrew Rippin, ed. The Muslim World, pp. 118-30. London, New York: Routledge

Bowen, John 2007. Why the French Don’t Like Headscarves: Islam, the State, and Public Space. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Breman, Jan 2009. The Great Transformation in the Setting of Asia, Address delivered on the occasion of the award of the degree Doctor Honoris Causa on the 57th Anniversary of the International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, The Netherlands, 29 October 2009. Available online – google it.

Chock, Phyllis Pease 1994. Remaking and Unmaking “Citizen” in Policy-Making Talk about Immigration PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 17: 2, 45-56.

Dahbour, Omar and Micheline R. Ishay, eds. The Nationalism Reader New York: Humanity Books

Collinson, S. ed. 2003 Power, Livelihoods and Conflict: Case Studies in Political Economy Analysis for Humanitarian Action. HPG Report, No. 13 Overseas Development Institute, London

Crisp, J. (2001) ‘Mind the Gap! UNHCR, Humanitarian Assistance and the Development Process’ International Migration Review, Vol. 35:1, 168-191. [online]

Faist, T 2008. Migrants as transnational development agents: an inquiry into the newest round of the migration-development nexus Population, Space and Place 14: 21-42.

Fassin, Didier 2005. Compassion and Repression: The Moral Economy of Immigration Policies in France. Cultural Anthropology 20: 3, 362-387.

Gellner, Ernest 1983. Nations and Nationalism London: Blackwell

Good, Anthony 2004. Undoubtedly an Expert? Anthropologists in British Asylum Courts. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 10: 1, 113-133.

Goody, Jack 2006. The Theft of History. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.

Graeber, David 1995. The Globalization Movement: Some Points of Clarification. In Marc Edelman and Angelique Haugerud, eds. The Anthropology of Development and Globalization: From Classical Political Economy to Contemporary Neoliberalism New York: Blackwell.

Gupta, Akhil 1992 The Song of the Nonaligned World: Transnational Identities and the Reinscription of Space in Late Capitalism. Cultural Anthropology 7(1):63-79.

Gupta, Akhil and James Ferguson 1992 Beyond “Culture:” Space, Identity and the Politics of Difference. Cultural Anthropology 7(1):6-23.

Gardner, Katy and Filippo Osella 2004 Migration, modernity and social transformation in South Asia: An introduction. In Filippo Osella and Katy Gardner, eds. Migration, modernity and social transformation in South Asia London: Sage

de Genova, Nicholas P. 2002. Migrant “Illegality” and Deportability in Everyday Life. Annual Review of Anthropology 31:419-447.

Gorman, Robert F. ed. 1993. Refugee aid and development: theory and practice Westport, Conn., London: Greenwood

Gupta, Akhil and James Ferguson 1992. Beyond “Culture”: Space, Identity, and the Politics of Difference Cultural Anthropology 7: 1, 6-23

de Haan, Arjan and Ben Rogaly 2002. Introduction: Migrant Workers and Their Role in Rural Change, Journal of Development Studies 38: 5, 1-14

de Haas, H. 2005 International migration, remittances and development: myths and facts Third World Quarterly 26: 8, 1269-1284.

Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri 1994. Labour of Dionysus: A Critique of the State-Form. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.

Harrell-Bond, B. E. 2002. Can humanitarian work with refugees be humane Human Rights Quarterly 24: 51-85

Harrell-Bond, B.E. 1986. Imposing Aid: Emergency Assistance to Refugees Oxford: OUP. Available at

Hart, Keith 2006 The Globalisation of Apartheid. At The Memory Bank.

Harvey, David 2003. Globalization and the Spatial Fix. Geographische Review 2:23-30.

Henry, L. and G. Mohan. 2003 Making homes: the Ghanaian diaspora, institutions and development Journal of International Development 15: 611-622.

Heyman, Josiah 1995. Putting Power in the Anthropology of Bureaucracy: The Immigration and Naturalisation Service at the Mexico-United States Border. Current Anthropology 36: 2, 261-287.

Humanitarian Policy Group 2005. Dependency and humanitarian relief: a critical analysis. HPG Report, No. 19. July 2005.

Jacobsen, Karen. 2002. Can Refugees Benefit The State? Refugee Resources and African Statebuilding Journal of Modern African Studies 40: 4, 577-596

Jacobsen, Karen 2005. The Economic Life of Refugees Kumarian Press, Bloomfield

Jessop, Bob 1990. State Theory: Putting Capitalist States in Their Place. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press

Kaiser, Tania 2005 ‘Participating in Development? Refugee protection, politics and developmental approaches to refugee management in Uganda’ in Third World Quarterly Vol. 26 No. 2 pp. 351-367 2005 [online]

Keen, David 1994. The benefits of famine: a political economy of famine and relief in southwestern Sudan,1983-1989 Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Kenyon Lischer, Sarah 2005. Dangerous Sanctuaries: Refugee Camps, Civil War, and the Dilemmas of Humanitarian Aid Cornell: Cornell Studies in Security Affairs

Knott, Kim and Sean McLoughlin eds. Diasporas: Concepts, Intersections, Identities. London & New York: Zed Books

Landau, Loren 2006. Challenge Without Transformation: Refugees, Aid, and Trade in Western Tanzania. In F. Crepeau, D. Nakache, M. Collyer, N. H. Goetz, A. Hansen, R. Modi, A. Nadig, S. Spoljar-Vrzina, and L. H. M. van Willigen (Eds.) Forced Migration and Global Processes: A View from Forced Migration Studies Lanham, MD: Lexington Books: 263-294.

Landau, Loren 2008. The Humanitarian Hangover: Displacement, Aid, and Transformation in Western Tanzania. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.

Lee, A.C.K. 2008. Local perspectives on humanitarian aid in Sri Lanka after the tsunami. Public Health 122: 1410-1417

Loescher, Gil, Alexander Betts and James Milner 2008. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR): the politics and practice of refugee protection into the 21st century London: Routledge

Mackintosh, Maureen et al. 2006. Aid, restitution and international fiscal redistribution in health care: implications of health professionals’ migration Journal of Devt Studies

Malkki, Liisa 1995. Refugees and Exile: From “Refugee Studies” to the National Order of Things Annual Review of Anthropology 24:495-523.

Malkki, Liisa 1992. National Geographic: The Rooting of Peoples and the Territorialization of National Identity among Scholars and Refugees Cultural Anthropology 7: 1, 24-44

McGee, T.G. 1995. Eurocentrism and Geography: Reflections on Asian Urbanization. In Jonathan Crush ed. Power of Development. London: Routledge

Medina, Laurie Kroshus 1997. Development Policies and Identity Politics: Class and Collectivity in Belize. American Ethnologist 24: 1, 148-169.

Mohan, G. 2002 Diaspora and development. In J. Robinson ed. Development and displacement Oxford: Oxford University Press. 77-140.

Mosse, David, Sanjeev Gupta, Vidya Shah 2005. On the Margins in the City: Adivasi seasonal labour migration in Western India. Economic and Political Weekly July 9, 3025-3038

Orozco M. and R. Rouse 2007 Migrant hometown associations and opportunities for development: a global perspective Migration Policy Institute

Phillips, M. 2003 The role and impact of humanitarian assets in refugee-hosting countries New Issues in Refugee Research Working Paper No. 84 (available at

Rieff, David 2003 A bed for the night: humanitarianism in crisis New York, N.Y.; London: Simon & Schuster

Shore, Chris 1997. Ethnicity, Xenophobia and the Boundaries of Europe. International Journal on Minority and Group Rights 4: 3/4, 247-262.

Slaughter, Amy and Jeff Crisp 2009. A surrogate state? The role of UNHCR in protracted refugee situations New Issues in Refugee Research Working paper No. 168 UNHCR Geneva available at

Smith, Neil 2008. Uneven Development: Nature, Capital, and the Production of Space. Atlanta: University of Georgia Press

Spencer, Jonathan 2004 A nation ‘living in different places’: Notes on the impossible work of purification in postcolonial Sri Lanka. In Filippo Osella and Katy Gardner, eds. Migration, modernity and social transformation in South Asia London: Sage

Terry, Fiona 2002. Condemned to repeat: the paradox of humanitarian action Ithaca N.Y.; London: Cornell University Press

Verdirame, G and B Harrell-Bond 2004. Rights in Exile: Janus Faced Humanitarianism Berghahn Oxford, Chapter 1

Wolf, Eric 1982. Europe and the People Without History. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Zetter, R 1999. International perspectives on refugee assistance. In Ager, A ed. Refugees: Perspectives on the Experience of Forced Migration Pinter, London & New York.

Avaaz and the height of ridiculousness

October 6, 2011 § 1 Comment

I just got this message from Avaaz:

Dear friends,

Thousands of Americans have taken over Wall Street — joining a global movement from Madrid to Jerusalem to take back democracy from corrupt interests. If millions of us stand with them, we’ll boost their spirits and show the media and leaders that this is no fringe movement. Click below to sign the petition – every signature will be counted on a giant live counter in the middle of the Wall St. occupation:

Thousands of Americans have non-violently occupied Wall St — an epicentre of global financial power and corruption. They are the latest ray of light in a new movement for social justice that is spreading like wildfire from Madrid to Jerusalem to 146 other cities and counting, but they need our help to succeed.

As working families pay the bill for a financial crisis caused by corrupt elites, the protesters are calling for real democracy, social justice and anti-corruption. But they are under severe pressure from authorities, and some media are dismissing them as fringe groups. If millions of us from across the world stand with them, we’ll boost their resolve and show the media and leaders that the protests are part of a massive mainstream movement for change. 

This year could be our century’s 1968, but to succeed it must be a movement of all citizens, from every walk of life. Click to join the call for real democracy — a giant live counter of every one of us who signs the petition will be erected in the centre of the occupation in New York, and live webcasted on the petition page:

The worldwide wave of protest is the latest chapter in this year’s story of global people power. In Egypt, people took over Tahrir Square and toppled their dictator. In India, one man’s fast brought millions onto the streets and the government to its knees — winning real action to end corruption. For months, Greek citizens relentlessly protested unfair cuts to public spending. In Spain, thousands of “indignados” defied a ban on pre-election demonstrations and mounted a protest camp in Sol square to speak out against political corruption and the government’s handling of the economic crisis. And this summer across Israel, people have built “tent cities” to protest against the rising costs of housing and for social justice.

These national threads are connected by a global narrative of determination to end the collusion of corrupt elites and politicians — who have in many countries helped cause a damaging financial crisis and now want working families to pay the bill. The mass movement that is responding can not only ensure that the burden of recession doesn’t fall on the most vulnerable, it can also help right the balance of power between democracy and corruption. Click to stand with the movement:

In every uprising, from Cairo to New York, the call for an accountable government that serves the people is clear, and our global community has backed that people power across the world wherever it has broken out. The time of politicians in the pocket of the corrupt few is ending, and in its place we are building real democracies, of, by, and for people. 

With hope,
Emma, Maria Paz, Alice, Ricken, Morgan, Brianna, Shibayan and the rest of the Avaaz team


Unions, students join Wall Street protesters (Businessweek)

Spanish youth rally in Madrid echoes Egypt protests (BBC)

Anti-austerity protesters block Greek ministries (Reuters)

Occupy Wall St – online resources for the occupation

Occupy Wall St primer (Washington Post)

This strikes me as the height of ridiculousness. If the Avaaz team genuinely believed what they are saying here, then why are they asking people to sign a petition rather than asking them to organise locally to occupy the nearest financial district?

This makes me think of a critique of Avaaz by Tavia Nyong’o, titled “Queer Africa and the Fantasy of Virtual Participation” – which will be appearing in a forthcoming issue of Women’s Studies Quarterly (apologies if this is not the right reference…I’m hoping to get that soon…)

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