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Focusing on Africa, we discuss why labour practices often continue exploitative situations even if they aim at a more equal future. We present empirical /theoretical contributions examining the role of concepts and actors in the emergence and transformation of social inequalities linked to labour.
At the heart of this panel discussion is the question of social justice. Why have attempts at increasing equality often contributed to generating more durable inequalities? What does this imply for the planning of labour policies and labour regimes? Why do labour practices often continue exploitative situations even if they aim at a more equal future? We propose a panel discussion on this topic that is grounded in concepts and actors and their roles in producing and reproducing social inequalities in the context of colonial and postcolonial labour systems and regimes of mobility in Africa. More specifically, we draw on selected concepts that are locally grounded and describe forms of social inequalities linked to different types of labour exploitation, namely "native labour", "new slavery", "human trafficking", and "cheap/abundant labour". The panel discussion will offer insights - both from a historical and contemporary perspective - on how these concepts circulated on a global scale, and were negotiated, translated, and adapted by institutional and individual actors to challenge social inequalities, while eventually contributing to the production of those same, or new, inequalities. We aim to reconcile debates on conceptual history, labour history, and inequality and combine perspectives from both South and North. We present empirical and theoretical contributions that look at past forms of labour exploitation and their conceptualisation, the changes and continuities that characterise today's forms of labour exploitation and conceptualisation, and how this transformation continues to structure future labour practices and their framing.
Accepted papers:Session 1 Thursday 1 June, 2023, -
Fabiana Kutsche (University of Cologne) Ulrike Lindner (University of Cologne)
Bilisuma Dito (Maastricht University) Elsje Fourie (University of Maastricht) Karen Schelleman-Offermans (Maastricht University) Konjit Gudeta (Maastricht UniversityAddis Ababa University)
Yonas Amaya (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)
Jonathan Ngeh (University of Cologne) Michaela Pelican (University of Cologne)