Conference Talk: “Portable Labour Rights for Migrant Workers in North America” by Xóchitl Bada

In this talk entitled “Portable Labour Rights for Migrant Workers in North America”, Xóchitl Bada looks at “glocalized” campaigns for international migrant workers and their portability in linking local worker advocacy to global movements. In this process, labour and migrant rights can be upheld as universal human rights.

Bada analyzes current advocacy practices of transnational civil society organizations interested in advancing a portable labour rights framework and how these practices are constituted at different scales, ranging from the local to the transnational. This research addresses multiple strategies that these organizations pursue to expand their influence across borders and questions the meaning of associating effective communicative power with discursive spaces that do not necessarily correlate with sovereign states. Taking Mexico and the United States as entry points, she addresses empirical case studies including domestic labour rights enforcement practices and transnational labour advocacy on behalf of low-wage migrants working in precarious conditions.

Xóchitl Bada is an associate professor in the Latin American and Latino Studies Program of the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin for the academic year 2019/2020. Her articles have appeared in Forced Migration Review, Population, Space, and Place, Latino Studies, and Labor Studies Journal. She is the author of Mexican Hometown Associations in Chicagoacán: From Local to Transnational Civic Engagement (Rutgers University Press, 2014). Her areas of specialization include migrant access to political and social rights, migrant organizing strategies, violence and displacement, and transnational labor advocacy mobilization in Mexico and the United. She is co-editor of the books New Migration Patterns in the Americas: Challenges for the 21st Century (Palgrave, 2018), Accountability across Borders: Migrant Rights in North America (The University of Texas Press, 2019), and the Handbook of Sociology of Latin America (Oxford University Press, 2020).

The talk was held during the Annual Conference “Knowledge and Society in Times of Upheaval” of the Forum Transregionale Studien and the Max Weber Stiftung – Deutsche Geisteswissenschaftliche Institute im Ausland (Berlin, 20–21 November 2018). It was jointly convened by Andreas Eckert (HU Berlin/Forum Transregionale Studien), Simone Lässig (GHI Washington) and Franz Waldenberger (DIJ Tokyo) and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF).


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