Stephen J. Cutler (Professor of Sociology Emeritus and Emeritus Bishop Robert F. Joyce Distinguished University Professor of Gerontology, University of Vermont)
Project: Promoting Interests and Competence in Ageing Research: A Joint Project of the Institute for Research at the University of Bucharest and the Doctoral Program of the Faculty of Sociology and Social Work at the University of Bucharest
Period: October 15th, 2017 to January 15th, 2017
Short presentation: As is true for many other European nations, Romania is in the early stages of a dramatic transformation of its age structure. The population ageing that is being experienced and will continue to be experienced is unprecedented in Romanian history. The projected scenarios may differ slightly in terms of the absolute numbers, but the message is the same: within the next 35 to 45 years, older persons will continue to make up a substantially larger segment of the total population than is now the case.
Victoria Seitz, Ph.D. (California State University of San Bernardino)
Project: Thinking Beyond Our Borders: Developing Strategies for Internationalization of Romania’s Products and Services
Period: 27th of November 2017 – 22nd of December 2017
Short presentation: Western European and American companies have been instrumental in introducing brands to the global marketplace via exports, subsidiaries, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions. Hundreds of western brands are now available through globalization to a market that was literally cut off from the rest of the world. Some of the top brands include Coca Cola, Microsoft, IBM, General Electric and Intel (“The 100 Top Brands”, 2002). However, given that Romania has been transitioning to a market economy since 1991 and a member of the European Union for only 10 years, they are not familiar with western marketing practices (www.tradeport.org) for global expansion
The goal of this project is to conduct seminars to students and the academy regarding international marketing introducing western practices of environmental scanning, internal assessment, SWOT analysis and global strategies. Moreover, seminars will be conducted with faculty and administration regarding development of an international marketing curriculum and strategies to further internationalize institutes.
Conducting seminars on international marketing will assist students’ in developing an understanding of global marketing practices and help to contribute to increasing Romania’s presence on the world stage. Seminars to faculty and administration will provide the foundation for developing a program in international marketing and provide the information for internationalizing institutes.
Michael G. Flaherty (Eckerd College, USA)
Project: Time and Society
Period: 5th of May 2018 -1st of June 2018
Short presentation: A temporal regime governs the operation of American correctional facilities. This temporal regime determines how inmates experience time and space in prison. Convicts have been “given” time (i.e., their sentences), but the temporal resources allocated for their various activities are quite limited. They are serving time, not deciding what to do with it. In addition, indeterminate sentences, the cyclical character of their schedule, and the cyclical pattern of recidivism combine to deprive prisoners of any future on the horizon. Incarceration makes it self-defeating to count standard temporal units (i.e., hours and days), but, wanting to mark the passage of time, prisoners develop unique ways to structure their temporal experience. Moreover, inmates engage in various forms of “time work” (or temporal agency) in an effort to resist the temporal regime and exert some degree of self-control over their own experience of time.
Gregory D. Squires (Professor of Sociology and Public Policy and Public Administration, George Washington University, USA)
Project: Inequality, the Financial Crisis, and the Ameliorative Role of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Period: 2nd of June – 16th of June 2018
Short presentation: Inequality has surged in recent years capturing the attention of scholars, policymakers, community organizations, and citizens around the world. While inequality provides a critical context for understanding the many challenges cities and nations confront, it is particularly salient for coming to terms with the financial crisis and its continuing effects, including the persistent segregation of cities and metropolitan areas. My presentation, drawing in part from my recently co-authored book Meltdown: The Financial Crisis, Consumer Protection, and the Road Forward, will examine its first five years of operation, chronicling those factors that contributed to its success and the challenges it has faced and continues to face.
One factor that contributed to the crisis and the disproportionate costs for racial and ethnic minorities has been the longstanding patterns of segregation in US housing markets. Predatory lending practices were targeted at minority communities, facilitated by the persisting segregation of US communities. The underlying causes of segregation have changed over the years, and the growth of various immigrant communities has altered the demography of those communities. But the persistence of racial and ethnic segregation, coupled with rising economic segregation, perpetuates the uneven development of cities and shapes the opportunity structure diverse groups face. The history and ongoing realities of housing discrimination and segregation will be the focus of a workshop I will conduct for graduate students in Sociology. It will draw in part from my forthcoming edited book, The Fight for Fair Housing: Causes, Consequences and Future Implications of the 1968 Federal Fair Housing Act. This workshop will examine the dynamics of housing discrimination and segregation in particular but will also explore how scholars in academic settings can work with non-academic organizations in applying the findings of social science research to various public policy issues.
Alexandru Minea, PhD
Project: Can inflation targeting promote institutional quality in developing countries?
Period: Mai 31st 2017 – June 13th 2017
Shot presentation: Institutional reforms are a key issue on the current research agenda in different fields. In economics, a rich literature focuses on the link between monetary institutional reforms and fiscal institutional reforms.
The study presented in this seminar aims at revisiting the link between monetary and fiscal reforms. The adoption of a more restrictive monetary regime, such as inflation targeting or appointing a more „conservative” central banker (i.e. which attached a higher importance to the inflation goal, with respect to the other potential goals), leads to a decrease of the inflation rate, and generates an important loss of government resources from seigniorage revenues. Particularly in developing countries, characterized on average by higher inflation rate compared to developed countries, this loss could be rather important, given that in these countries a relatively large share of government resources may come from seigniorage revenues. To compensate this loss, governments may launch fiscal reforms aimed at raising fiscal resources, including through resources dedicated to enhancing the quality of fiscal institutions, with the scope of increasing the degree of collecting of fiscal revenues.
Furthemore, this theoretical result is tested in a macroeconomic environment, using data for developing countries. Drawing upon modern econometric tools employed in the literature devoted to analyzing the effects of monetary reforms consisting of inflation targeting adoption, it is shown that the countries that adopted an inflation targeting monetary framework present, on average, better institutional features (capturing, mostly, the quality of fiscal institutions) compared with countries with comparable observable characteristics, but that did not adopt inflation targeting. This statistically significant difference, confirmed by a wide set of robustness tests, support the conclusion of the theoretical model previously developed.
A secondary direction of Dr. Minea`s visit within the ICUB is a seminar regarding academic writing and publishing strategies, intended to help both ICUB fellows and PhD students within the social sciences area. The main topics of this event will be: enhancing the quality of the article, choosing an academic journal, journal indexing and classifications, the process of being published (revisions and meeting journal specifications).
Stephen J. Cutler (Professor of Sociology Emeritus and Emeritus Bishop Robert F. Joyce Distinguished University Professor of Gerontology, University of Vermont)
Project: Promoting Interests and Competence in Ageing Research Via a Research Training Workshop
Period: February 1st, 2017 to May 31st, 2017
Short presentation: Despite dramatic increases in the numbers of older persons in Romania, the study of ageing is in its infancy among Romanian researchers. Just as institutions of higher education in Romania need to augment their curricular offerings in the area of ageing, so too must efforts be directed at identifying potential research investigators who are interested in and competent to turn their substantive attention to the fascinating basic and applied questions surrounding this area.
The aim of the proposed project is to do just that: to identify a group of academicians (and others) with a potential interest in studying aging; to provide them with knowledge about the challenging conceptual and methodological issues that are endemic to the study of aging; to provide them with information about sources of public domain data that can be used to study ageing; and, through a series of guided workshop meetings, to assist them with the development of research papers that can be submitted for publication. In short, the most general objective of the proposed research is to augment the research capacity of Romanian colleagues and to do so in a substantive area that has been relatively neglected up to now, but which is of the utmost basic, applied, and policy significance for Romania.
Irene Peano, PhD
Project: Gender in Global Care-Commodity Chains: A Research on the Supply End and Reproduction of Romanian Farm-Labour Migration in Italy
Period: December 1st, 2016 – February 28th, 2017
Short presentation: While the gender distribution of the registered Romanian population in Italy (the most numerous migrant community in the country by far) sees the presence of a majority of women, in agriculture such trend appears to be reversed. Given the high percentage of totally irregular labour in this sector and the fact that, based on my own experience as well as on other sources, Romanian women do migrate in large numbers to be employed in the agricultural sector in Italy, these data can be interpreted to mean that a higher percentage of women are doomed to total irregularity compared to men, signalling the higher precarity reserved to women in this as in most employment sectors, regardless of nationality.
However, the overwhelming presence of European (and especially Romanian) workers in the agro-industrial sector and their extreme living and working conditions are eclipsed by what different scholars have dubbed as the ‘border spectacle’, which privileges the portrayal of exploited farm labour in relation to migration from outside the EU, in paternalistic and victimising tones. Apart from their lack of exotic appeal, Eastern European farm workers are also less visible due to the mode of organisation of their labour migration, normally in the hands of intermediaries who in many cases recruit them in their country of origin and manage their entire migration experience. Indeed, as far as Romanians and other EU citizens are concerned, liberalisation of their movement and right to work across the EU has also made for their higher seasonality. Seasonal farm labourers might be recruited through kinship networks, by acquaintances, through word of mouth or announces in newspapers or on the internet. Intermediaries often take care of transport, accommodation and recruitment, supervising not only work on the farms but every aspect of migrant workers’ existence. Preliminary research I carried out in Romania in March 2016, and particularly in the counties of Maramureş and Sibiu, confirms the extent to which workers are kept in a state of fear and blackmail. Afraid of the consequences of spelling out the conditions of their recruitment and employment, in most cases they refused to speak about them to a stranger. At the same time, with the help of local field assistants, I was able to begin understanding the process of recruitment, for example through internet announces.
Paul Dragoș Aligica, PhD
Project: David Mitrany
Period: June 26th – July, 10th
Short presentation: David Mitrany, probably the most influential social scientist of Romanian origin, had important contributions in four areas: International relations theory, political economy, history and social theory. Mitrany is known today mostly as an IR theorist, one of the founding fathers of the field. He is considered one of the major theorist and promoters of the European integration project through his functionalist theory of integration and peace.
In the current international and European context, when the idea of integration and the principles of international governance and social order are challenged profoundly, revisiting functionalist ideas –the backbone of the current EU order- becomes a mandatory intellectual task. Reassessing and reconstructing “functionalism” leads sooner or later to an effort to revisit the work of its originator, David Mitrany.
Far from being a neglected author at the time, Mitrany was a preeminent figure. Despite the recognition he received during those times and the recognition he receives today as being one of the key theorists inspiring the European integration project, his theoretical and scholarly legacy has been neglected. His ideas inspired an entire development in International Relation Theory (called “neoliberalism” or “functionalist liberalism” recognized as such by major scholars like Keohane and Nye) however he left posterity no direct disciples or institutionalized school of thought.
The initiative/project outlined in this statement of intent will aim at bolstering the general (public and academic) understanding of his contributions and their significance, while at the same time making his intellectual tradition an intellectually branding element of ICUB (on the social sciences side) and a vehicle for the Romanian voices in contemporary debates on European Integration, International Relation and Security Studies.
More information here.
Tamara Cărăuș, PhD
Project: Migrant Cosmopolitanism
Period: October 1st, 2016 – July 31, 2017
Short presentation: The phenomenon of migration poses some crucial problems for political
theory in particular and social sciences in general. Both the economic migrant (guest
workers, irregular migrants) for whom migration is a choice and an option, and the refugee, whose mobility is seen as an action forced by persecutions, wars or natural disasters (and whom states are at least morally obliged to admit to their territory) increase the mass of noncitizens in the countries of destination (and in the world in general), that is, the mass of persons who do not have political agency and rights. This is difficult to reconcile with political theories of equality and liberty granted by state, thus, confronted with the problems of migrants and refuges, the current state-based way of doing and thinking politics shows its structural and conceptual limits. The challenge is then to conceive a cosmopolitan political theory and to imagine a cosmopolitics as a way of doing politics in a global world that would include both migrants and non-migrants.
The existing theories of cosmopolitanism do not resolve the structural political exclusion of migrants, but only alleviate it temporarily. For Kant, migrants, nomads, and other non-citizens are only allowed the right of visitation not residence, that is, temporary access to the territory of a state, so the Kantian right of cosmopolitan hospitality protects migrants and refugees but only through their perpetual displacement. Contemporary liberal and republican cosmopolitanism and the international institutions advanced by this approach do not eliminate the structural exclusion of immigrants, for example, the United Nations’ conventional framework defines the right to leave a territory as a human right, but not the right to enter a territory. The normative approach called ‘open borders’ diminishes its cosmopolitan potential because it is focused mainly on ‘receiving countries’, who have to open the borders, and not on the sending countries which remain more vulnerable (the so called ‘brain drain’ problem). As well, the ‘open border’ approach is formulated within the paradigm of the nation-state, examining in details when and how the state can admit, exclude, select and reject the immigrants, thus failing to map the way the nation-state generates a structural exclusion, incompatible with a cosmopolitan view of migration.
A more practical approach with a cosmopolitan intent – that of the transnational NGOs and other institutions providing humanitarian support – although efficient for short term do not solve the problem posed by migration for political theory. This humanitarian approach depoliticizes migrants and refugees by providing food and shelter (mainly in refugee camps), implying the danger of transforming the migrant into a mere human body to be managed in a camp, in this way confirming Hannah Arendt’s insights on the perplexities of human rights for refugees and stateless people. But, as Arendt suggests in “We refugees,” the condition of refugees and persons without a country has to be taken as a new paradigm for politics’ the refugees being the ‘avant-garde of their peoples.’
Thus, the main aim of this project is to examine if and how refugees and immigrants can be the avant-garde of cosmopolitanism, that is, how could migrants and refugees contribute to a cosmopolitan restructuring of the ways of understanding and doing politics? What are the migrant practices and actions with a cosmopolitan potential? Can we imagine a cosmopolitics that will include both migrants and non-migrants as a new way of doing politics in a global world? Can we conceive political participation independent of locality that would make it possible for migrant/mobile people to participate to a global and cosmopolitan governance? Can migrants and refugees be seen as renouncing the temptations of the territorial form of community and politics? Etc.