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Brokered Domestic Work: The Sri Lanka-Saudi Market

by Wasana Handapangoda

GD 12.3

Since the early 1980s, Sri Lankan women have been migrating in great numbers as domestic workers to the oil-rich Arabian Gulf. This labor outflow was an outcome of Sri Lanka’s economic liberalization reforms in 1977 and the Arabian oil boom in 1973, which opened up a profuse market for paid domestic labor in a context of globalization. Today, migrant domestic work has become one of Sri Lanka’s key exports in terms of the contribution to foreign exchange earnings. Of the Gulf domestic labor importers, Saudi Arabia remains significant, with Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia having forged...

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Latest Issue. GD 12.3, December 2022

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Profitable Bodies and Care Mobilities in Central and Eastern Europe

GD 12.3

Landscapes of care are rapidly changing in the Visegrad countries (the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary), due to overall marketization of care regimes, outmigration, changes in gender relations, and an increasingly aging population. These developments are leading to new complexities and a diversification of the care sector, consisting of different business actors (including some from the spa and tourism sector), whilst also affecting the role of both the family and the state. Furthermore, care provision is challenged due to gaps created through the outmigration of women into the...

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Who Knows? Recognition, Citation, and Epistemic Injustice

GD 12.3

In many ways, the academic profession is becoming more diverse. Since 1990, women have constituted the majority of undergraduate and master’s-level graduate students globally. In the EU, women account for 54% of undergraduate students, 58% of master’s students, and 48% of graduates at doctoral level, but they still make up only 24% of professors. Minority ethnic scholars are underrepresented across the academic profession: in the UK, for instance, Black and minority ethnic scholars occupy only 7.3% of professorial roles. The relationship between education, knowledge ...

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Why We Need Comparative Intersectional LGBT+ Data

GD 12.3

Despite some significant advances in many European countries over the past few decades, research shows that inequalities experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and other sexuality and gender diverse (LGBT+) individuals persist. Many people encounter this discrimination in a range of social environments, workplaces, and public spaces or when accessing public services. Current inequality data limitations Understanding the extent of such inequalities is essential for devising informed policies to improve the lives of LGBT+ people. However, until recently ...

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The War in Ukraine Changes What We Thought We Knew

GD 12.3

I have written on other occasions about the lack of methodology in the sociology of international relations and security studies, about the too close and perhaps fatal connection with journalism. Social scientists are obsessed with a prophetic function: probably in order to prove their capacity to enter the canon of causality, they seek to predict crises, trends, and election results. And every time they are accused of being wrong: before 2020 sociology did not pay attention to a possible pandemic; the signs of the war in Ukraine were misread; in every election cycle polls are not as accurate as the press and public would like. Two years full of surprises The last two and a half years have been full of surprises. After the surprise of a flu like no other...

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Collective and Individual Trauma

GD 12.3

The ongoing Russian–Ukrainian war is a challenge to the entire civilized world. In the context of Ukraine today we can observe the collapse of all the principles of the international coexistence of states, and how human destinies are dependent on voluntarism and the imperial ambitions of one country, or in fact of one person at the head of the state who seeks to dictate his misanthropic ideology to the whole world. The horrors of war that every citizen of Ukraine is experiencing today also affect almost all spheres of the world community, which faces global challenges to its own security ...

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How the Russian-Ukrainian War Affects Sociology

GD 12.3

In my speech at the III Congress of the Sociological Association of Ukraine[1], I identified four stages in the development of sociological thought in the context of globalization. Structurally, each stage has seven components, which I consider of primary importance for understanding its specifics and determining general development trends: the nature of sociology at a particular time, its defining features, its basic concepts, its central themes, its major functions, its dominant feature, and the main methods employed in empirical research. The sociology of globalization Stage I: sociology before globalization (from the beginnings of sociology up until 1985), when the first sociological works in this field appeared ...

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Fridays for Future: A Social Movements Perspective

GD 12.3

Fridays for Future, a network of young people working on climate change issues, is still active despite the COVID-19 pandemic under which large face-to-face events are hard to hold. In Glasgow, UK, during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November 2021, about 100,000 people marched to demand more aggressive action to combat the climate crisis. In mid-September 2019, this campaign succeeded in mobilizing more than 7.6 million young people globally, which is the world record for the number of participants in a street campaign. We can evaluate that this is the most successful collective...

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Intersectionality as Critical Method

GD 12.3

While many scholars in the field of gender studies are convinced that intersectionality is an essential part of good feminist theory, it is not always clear how intersectionality should be adopted in the context of research. In practice, intersectionality raises many questions, for example: What categories should be included in an intersectional analysis? Should researchers always stick to the “big three” of gender, race, and class, or should they cast a wider net? Some scholars have asked whether categories should be used at all, as they may be misleading and fail to capture the...

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The Quest for the Right Intersectional Metaphor

GD 12.3

Language, in both its everyday and academic forms, is loaded with metaphor. If you start looking for metaphors in a text, they are likely to spring up like mushrooms. Metaphors make use of tropes: expressions that shift the familiar meaning of words so that they depict something else. Metaphors such as a broken heart, a bad apple, one’s moral compass, late bloomers and double-edged swords make use of well-known objects from mundane settings and transfer them into new, sometimes surprising, ones. Locating the wealth of metaphors in our everyday and academic language illustrates why they...

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