It is a sad occasion which currently reminds us of questions about large-distance solidarity, transnational communities and commitment – topics which the workshop Mobility and Civil Society: How Social Commitment Takes Place addresses at the University Freiburg, Germany, in December.

During the last weeks, the second largest industrial tragedy in history has raised public awareness and debate about global inequality of international labor protection once again. The Rana Plaza complex close to Dhaka, Bangladesh, collapsed on April 24. As the rescue work around the former Tung Hai garment factory is still not completed, the reported death toll moves up to around a thousand people. Yesterday, eight people died in another fire in a garment factory in Dhaka.

Several posts on this blog have reflected on collective action for labor rights in the anti-sweatshop movement, like the The Peoples’ Tribunal in Cambodia (here) and on the reasons and counter strategies regarding low wages in the garment industry in Asia (here). Civil society organizations have also responded to the current incident: Actors like the International Labor Rights Forum and the Clean Clothes Campaign released statements and formulated petitions.

The contributions for the workshop in Freiburg, however, can cover a wide range of issues. Special attention will be paid to questions about highly mobile actors and groups. The organizers, Matthias Möller and Anna Lipphard,

look forward to contributions from historical and contemporary points of view, particularly to those that take into account the different power relations that shape mobile practices and modes of participation. (source)

The event takes place on December 5-6, 2013. The deadline for abstracts (400 words) and a short CV is June 15, 2013.


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