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Neoliberalism, Dispossession & Forced Displacement: Investigating Morocco and Tunisia’s Migrant Crisis

Monday, January 28, 2019
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Jeffery Hall
Room: 225
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Dr. Angela Joya, University of Oregon, Oregon, U.S.A

In 2018 more than 163 countries, including Canada, signed on to the United Nations Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration. The Compact is a response to the contemporary refugee/migrant crisis with the goal of addressing the root causes of forced migration. The Middle East and North Africa have been at the center of the contemporary refugee/migrant crisis, with thousands risking their lives attempting to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe. While the wars and conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa have been a main driver of the displacement of people, the economic reforms associated with the neoliberal development project (such as, agricultural reform, labour market restructuring and privatization) have also played an important role. In the literature on global migration and forced displacement, however, the links between neoliberal development policies and forced displacement have not been sufficiently established. In this talk, I argue that the economic reform policies associated with neoliberal globalization have contributed to the forced displacement of people from Morocco and Tunisia. This raises questions about the feasibility of liberal approaches to migration that are rooted in a refugee/migrant distinction, and the inability of the global Compact to get to the root of the migration problem by failing to problematize the neoliberal development model they continue to promote.

Barbra Brousseau
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