Clinical Sociologist Discusses Phases of Migration in the Global South During Webinar
Members of the Brazilian Brincadas Project were treated to a keynote address by UKZN clinical sociologist Professor Mariam Seedat-Khan on Distinctive and Continued Phases of Global South Migration: Human Security; Gender; Geography; Race, and Class Intersections.
The Project - led by Professor Fernanda Liberali of the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC-SP) - is an extension of a trans-Atlantic project established by a team of global scholars with Seedat-Khan as the principal investigator.
Brincadas aims to conceptualise clinical interventions capable of mitigating the adverse effects of the economic global crisis on migrants’ human security and access.
Seedat-Khan’s paper focused on the increasing difficulty of harmonising migration management policies for Africa, and the Global South as a preferred destination for migrants. Her webinar address probed intersections of diversity, education, mobility and exclusion; diverse mobilities and irregular migration, including unaccompanied minors; violence against migrants; prevalence of communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis; and continued emigration of skilled nationals.
She said these typical Global South challenges were rooted in historical unequal experiences exacerbated by SARS-CoV-2 which had resulted in a disproportionate economic crisis impacting on migrants’ access and right to inclusion, education, services and employment which compromised their well-being.
‘An overwhelming presence of migrants in South Africa’s domestic, security, transport, service and informal sectors compound their economic marginalisation and exploitation. In the absence of fundamental human rights and access, migrants are stripped of agency,’ said Seedat-Khan.
‘Shaping a non-discriminatory, post-pandemic Africa is South Africa’s defining role. The current state of migrants in South Africa mandates urgent attention to co-produce impactful interdisciplinary interventions led by the fundamental principles of applied and clinical sociology. Interventions must build wellbeing, promote recovery, support economic renewal and capitalise of human resilience in the Global South. Scientific scholarship is instrumental in developing and co-producing context-specific interventions to current and post-pandemic African migrants’ contexts.’
According to Seedat-Khan, co-production with migrants as citizen scientists produces distinctive clinical models that address lived human security, gender, geography, race and class challenges, culminating in migrants’ inclusion and wellbeing. ‘Scientific migrant-centred frameworks inform opportunities to synergise policy and practice via clinical interventions. Ultimately, co-produced clinical interventions underscore migrants’ access to human rights that subscribe to a universal humanistic social contract to augment wellbeing.’
Pervasive social issues discussed included xenophobia; systematic institutional inequality; gendered, lone, and child migration; labour, and exploitation in the Global South. She highlighted that continental African migration was rooted in scrambled colonial borders that disrupted economic, political, religious, and cultural conventions in pursuit of profit.
She said clinical interventions foster wellbeing, promote recovery, support economic renewal, and capitalise on human resilience in the Global South. ‘It is critical for scholars to develop and co-produce context-specific interventions for Global South migrants, both now and post-pandemic. Adopting migrant-centred frameworks inform effective clinical interventions, policy, and practice to address human (in)security, gender, geography, race, conflict and class.’
Seedat-Khan concluded that ‘in the end, co-produced clinical interventions ensure migrants’ access to human rights that subscribe to a humanistic social contract.’
Words: Sinoyolo Mahlasela