Call for Papers: Special Issue & Author’s Conference: Violence, Mobility and Labour Relations in Asia


The Editorial Board of IQAS – International Quarterly for Asian Studies invites manuscript submissions for a special issue on “Violence, Mobility and Labour Relations in Asia” by 31 August 2018.

IQAS is a fully peer-reviewed academic journal for multidisciplinary research on current and historical topics relevant to politics, economics and society in contemporary Asia. It is published twice a year by the Arnold Bergstraesser Institute Freiburg, Germany, in print and open access versions. We do not charge any fees from our authors.

Violence, Mobility and Labour Relations in Asia

Mobility has become a distinct element in labour relations. Many studies show that Asian migrant workers are exposed to physical harm, exploitation, and livelihood insecurity and thus subject to direct and structural forms of violence. In addition, tens of millions of people in Asia have been forcefully displaced within their countries and across borders – a mobility that is directly linked to collapsing security structures and violent conflicts. Violence-induced mobility also goes hand in hand with a reconfiguration of labour relations: at ‘places of origin’ where war economies emerge and qualified personnel is lost, and at ‘places of transit’ and ‘places of destination’, where new labourers potentially experience violence and precariousness once more.

This special issue seeks to disentangle the interconnections between labour relations, mobility, and violence in Asia. Especially the nexus of ‘reconfigured labour relations due to violence and mobilities’ misses interdisciplinary conceptualisation from different scholarships. In order to offer novel conceptual insights, contributors are asked to particularly engage with three distinct fields of scholarship. First, the new mobilities paradigm considers human mobility as a social practice that is interlinked with other forms of mobility and yet rooted in specific structures. While immobility is perceived as the norm and associated with stability and security, mobility is often framed as exception that threatens security. Second, in recent debates in labour geography, power relations in the ‘field of employment’, workers’ agency, and the local situation of labour relations are particularly acknowledged. The organisation and facilitation of mobility as significant field of employment is increasingly being looked at, too. Third, in peace and conflict studies, violence is conceived of as individual ‘violent acts’ that harm individuals or groups, as planned and coordinated practices by social and political groups in order to achieve specific goals (‘organized violence’), and as more structural patterns that are deeply embedded in societal power relations. All three forms of violence interact with mobility and labour relations in quite different ways.

With these concepts in mind, we invite contributions based on empirical research in Asia that reflect upon some of the following themes and research questions:

• What is the role of ‘violent acts’, ‘organized violence’ and ‘structural violence’ as driver and trigger of mobility in Asia?
• How are local labour relations and livelihood conditions altered at distinct places in situations of violent conflict, collapsing security structures and mass displacement?
• How are violence and labour exploitation experienced by migrants and refugees ‘on the move’ and whilst becoming ‘stuck on the move’, e.g. in camps and border spaces?
• To what extent are the labour relations of highly mobile workers, e.g. drivers, traders, seafarers, shaped by the experience of violence and conflicts? How do they adapt?
• What are the psychological and social effects of the experience of violence before and during mobility on entering new labour relations at a (final) destination?
• How are violence and exploitation experienced by migrants and refugees in labour relations at destinations? And how do they resist, adapt to and cope with violence?

Prospective contributors are invited to send a short 300-500 word proposal to the guest editor Dr Benjamin Etzold: by 31 August 2018.

Selected contributors will be invited to submit their full article for peer review by 15 October 2018 with a prospective publication in IQAS in mid-2019. Authors of the selected manuscripts for the Special Issue will be invited to present and discuss their papers at an Author’s Conference on 7 December 2018 at the Arnold Bergstrasser Institute, Freiburg. You can find this call also on the IQAS website: Call Violence, Mobility and Labour Relations in Asia

Ann Philipp
Editorial Manager