SO478 - week 3

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These are my notes from October 10 for SO478 at the London School of Economics for the 2017-2018 school year. I'm taking this module as part of the one-year Inequalities and Social Science MSc program.

The usual disclaimer: all notes are my personal impressions and do not necessarily reflect the view of the lecturer. Feel free to email me (ilostwaldo, gmail) with any questions or corrections.

Global inequalities and migration


Towards a new politics of migration? by Bridget Anderson

Written as a response to Stephen Castle’s 2004 paper Migration Policies Fail, in the context of the EU migration crisis of 2015. I thought this paper was excellent.

Global Inequality by Branko Milanović (chapter 3)

On inequality among countries. basically the same as the paper from last week (mostly methodology)

Strategic Gendering by Saskia Sassen


Mostly facts and figures about migration. This lecture was given by Diane Perrons, Professor of Economic Geography and Gender Studies at LSE.


Discussing Milanovic’s proposal on migration. My own take is that by the point you’re talking about migration in terms of numbers and the policies of an individual nation-state, you’ve already made a mistake. You’re already on the wrong level. It’s equivalent to trying to solve climate change by buying slightly more energy-efficient lightbulbs: an individual (in this case, national) response to a structural problem. What we need is a fundamental rethinking of the global economic system and its inequalities; otherwise, migration will keep happening. Setting quotas or imposing penalties or closing borders is addressing the symptoms, and we can’t let discourse on migration be limited to that, otherwise it’ll distract us from the real problem: global inequality.

(My take is probably heavily inspired by a book that I happened to read just a few days prior to the seminar: Slavoj Žižek’s Against the Double Blackmail.)

Someone else brought up an interesting point about the impact of the automation of labour on migration: as more and more jobs go away (at least in poorer countries), there’s more impetus to move to where the jobs still are.