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The University of Southampton
Politics and International RelationsPart of Economic, Social and Political Science

Neither Resident nor Expatriate: Seafaring Citizens and Deterritorialized Development

Research Project Outline

There are 1.6 million seafarers currently working in the global shipping industry (ICS 2016). Many of them come from island nations with developing economies in the Asia Pacific region. But we know very little about:

RQ1) What measures governments take to facilitate the formation and maintenance of these communities;

RQ2) how the seafarers themselves exercise their political rights in their country of origin; and

RQ3) how their activity contributes to state development.

These questions are significant because they arise at the intersection of contemporary debates about the contribution of transnational communities to development, and the role of the state in facilitating both. They also have significant implications for the global shipping industry.

Contemporary scholarship on migration and development has drawn attention to the significant role of expatriates and of state expatriate policies in enabling economic growth through remittances, trade and knowledge transfers. Drawing a distinction between the place and role of expatriate citizens and resident citizens in relation to the development of the state, this has led to states not only seeking to ‘bind’ expatriates to the state through diaspora engagement policies, expatriate voting rights, and the accommodation of dual nationality but also to developing citizens for ‘export’ in particular sectors of work (for example, nursing in the Philippines). Yet existing scholarship on migration, transnationalism and ‘deterritorialized’ development has thus far overlooked the case of ‘seafaring citizens’ who occupy an ‘in-between’ position, being neither expatriates nor residents as these terms are standardly deployed. They are perpetually mobile but in such a way that is not fully captured by arguments about ‘brain drain’ and remittance flows.

By combining theoretical and empirical insights and utilising a range of methods, this project will draw these perspectives together to provide a more nuanced set of insights that uncovers both the policies that underpin the creation of seafaring populations and the economic and other benefits they deliver to their respective countries.

This research will look at the cases of four states - Philippines, Indonesia, Tuvalu and Kiribati - where seafaring citizens may be a key part of deterritorialized development. These are all developing countries and island nations, but have a mix of sizes (200 million people in Indonesia, 100 million in Philippines, 100 thousand in Kiribati, 10 thousand in Tuvalu), and have the largest seafaring populations in either real (Indonesia, Philippines) or proportional (Kiribati and Tuvalu) terms.

The project will employ a mixed methods approach. Analysis of documentary and archival data will be used to compare state policies across countries and eras (RQ1). Qualitative interviews with policymakers and seafarers will draw out the meanings and practices that underpin both the mobility of this community and their contribution to state development (RQ2). We expect the candidate to conduct primary fieldwork in at least two of the four cases (one big and one small island). Quantitative analysis will examine how seafarers contribute to national development in their state of origin (RQ3).

The deadline for applications is the 13 February 2017. Shortlisting of candidates will take place on the 23 February 2017. Interviews will take place in March 2017.

Applicants are advised to contact the lead supervisor, Professor David Owen, to notify him of their application and to address any questions that they have. The supervisory team additionally includes: Professor Jackie Wahba (Economics), Dr Ana Margheritis (PAIR) and Dr Jack Corbett (PAIR). The successful applicant will be part of the Leverhulme Trust “Understanding Maritime Futures” Doctoral Programme and will participate in the cohort training as well as receiving training in the research methods required for this specific project.

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