The proposed workshop seeks to explore the linkages between transnational care arrangements and the production of social inequality in the constantly changing context of the Covid-19 pandemic. Its particular outcome should be a Special Issue in one of the visible international journals. Transnational care arrangements composed of networks, families, kinship groups, organizations and labour markets have been suspected of being co-generators of unequal social relations for many decades (Hochschild 2000; Lutz 2008). Indeed, the pandemic has contributed to the increase of global inequality between poor and affluent countries (World Bank 2021). This development is accompanied by a (re-)formation of inequality patterns in terms of gender, ethnicity/race and class (Maestripieri 2021), exacerbating the living and health conditions of vulnerable populations. It has also been shown that the virus is spreading more easily among vulnerable populations, including migrant workers in precarious employment positions such as formal and informal care settings (Gotardo & Cyment 2020). Moreover, societies all over the world are backsliding into gendered patterns of care work in private households (Dias et al. 2020). Scholars also agree that the socioeconomic resources affect mobility patterns and the possibilities to avoid dangerous situations. Highly skilled, privileged groups partly benefit from teleworking and reduced mobility pressure, whereas less privileged groups, among them migranticized workers who work in essential sectors, do not have the opportunity to work from home and reduce their contacts (European Commission 2020). At the same time, mobility restrictions have aggravated the economic conditions of those who rely on income earned in carework abroad and thus extended the vulnerability to communities in the emigration countries (Foley & Piper 2020).
The aim of this workshop is to bring together scholars from different disciplines to inquire into the interplay between the temporal and intersectional aspects of inequality formation in the contemporary transnational care settings. It seeks to explore how changing mobility and immobility patterns interact to produce inequality in transnational care arrangements, and to analyse the complex and ambivalent welfare politics employed during the pandemic in different European countries, and beyond, that are intended to mitigate the vulnerabilities produced by the pandemic (e.g. short-time working, insurance-financed forms of treatment, additional social benefit payments). The pandemic situation requires ongoing efforts of individuals, networks and institutions to adapt to constantly changing conditions. Thus, there is a need to explore the temporal and processual nature of intersectional inequality. In addition, the workshop considers the recently emerging biopolitical strategies of state and non-state actors (including regular testing, vaccination and use of QR codes) that become incorporated into (im)mobility regimes both within and outside Europe. In order to provide the most current overview of the constantly changing landscape of transnational care in these times of the pandemic, we invite presentations that address the following questions:
- How did transnational care arrangements on various levels (networks, families, organization, institutions, labour markets) adapt to the changing pandemic context?
- What new inequalities can be observed at different temporal and spatial levels in the individual and family life-courses of migranticized groups?
- What novel types of exploitation do migranticized care workers experience in the institutional settings of hospitals, retirements homes, day care centres and other such facilities in the receiving countries?
- What recent dynamics of precarity, insecurity and informality can be observed in the context of transnational care settings? In what ways are they linked to Covid itself and by Covid-related regulations?
- What old and new types of exploitation do migrant care workers experience in the context of informal care arrangements in private households in the receiving countries?
- What challenges do transnational families collect in the context of the pandemic and of related (im)mobility regulations? And what coping strategies do members of the transnational families develop to cope with these challenges?
- What implications do these biopolitical strategies of Covid governance (including constant testing, vaccination and use of QR codes) have for the cross-border transnational circulation of digital and/or non-digital care resources?
- How can the theories of care drain, care gain and care circulation (among many others) be revisited in the context of the pandemic?