You are here: Home Our Research Working Groups Contemporary Asymmetrical Dependencies (CAD)

Contemporary Asymmetrical Dependencies (CAD)

Under Contemporary Asymmetrical Dependencies (CAD's), we understand all those contemporary forms of exploitation, undesired dependency and/or structural inequalities, that are either direct historical legacies of slavery or resemble asymmetrical power relations coming close to conditions under slavery in terms of deprivation of rights to chosen mobility and decent compensation for work.

 

Why Contemporary Asymmetrical Dependencies (CAD)?

We, Dr. Lotte Pelckmans (BCDSS fellow 2019–2020) and Sarah Dusend (BCDSS research and study coordinator) decided to set up this working group, which started in January 2020, to give more visibility and underline the importance of asymmetrical dependencies in the contemporary world. Currently, the majority of researchers at the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies cluster of excellence at the University of Bonn, focuses on past forms of asymmetrical dependencies, but the minority of their PhD students works on contemporary aspects. Hence the demand for a forum to exchange ideas about contemporary asymmetrical dependencies, which are often connected in many different ways to the past, is evident. Finally, we want to contribute to the cluster's promise to generate a debate and public outreach on the topic of asymmetrical dependencies and we will certainly find ways to do so when addressing ongoing societal issues.

Contemporary Asymmetrical Dependencies (CAD)

Under Contemporary Asymmetrical Dependencies (CAD's), we understand all those contemporary forms of exploitation, undesired dependency and/or structural inequalities, that are either direct historical legacies of slavery or resemble asymmetrical power relations coming close to conditions under slavery in terms of deprivation of rights to chosen mobility and decent compensation for work. We can hereby think of a range of dependencies, from sweatshops and call-centers over migrant exploitation and human trafficking to aspects of the carceral system in the US.

In contrary to "known" asymmetrical dependencies in history, f.e. between a patron and a client, contemporary asymmetrical dependencies are characterized by "unknown" relationships between individuals and institutions based on structural violence, which results in the shift of responsibilities to other actors (overseers, managers, other workers, etc.). Disciplining, intermediaries and the effect of dependency on the body (physically and mentally) are obviously key aspects in structural arisen dependencies.

In short, both small and large-scale institutionalized forms of (undesired) exclusion based on specific features, ranging from inherited status (caste, slave descent), as well as gender, race, ethnicity, religious background, will be considered as contemporary asymmetrical dependencies.

Who?

Everyone interested in contemporary relations of (asymmetrical) dependencies. Our working group consists of researchers with very different fields of topics. For example, modern slavery, (return) migration, forced labor, exploitation, global labor relations, but also spatial dependencies and theoretical discussions have been topics of previous meetings.

We are academics, practitioners, development organizations, journalists and welcome anyone with a special interest in contemporary asymmetrical dependencies.

What?

The current goals and aims of the CAD group are to constitute a network and a study group with regular meetings (at least once every two weeks), aimed at intellectual exchange among the members, with a level of administrative/institutional administration as low as possible for the time being.

The focus is on:

  • networking
  • exchange of literature and readings
  • platform for discussion of both work and central readings
  • platform for knowledge exchange

We work as an informal platform where everyone feels free to express and argue, be open about intellectual struggles and embrace the idea to learn by doing and by sharing creative approaches.

Longer Term Future Goals and Aims

  • joint collaboration towards conferences and/or e.g. mini seminar series within the cluster sharing information about relevant activities, websites and publications in the field
  • public outreach: docs and talks, filmed lectures

Readings

We have started ordering important books and works in the field with the library. The list is available here

All the cluster books, including those related to the topics of CAD, can be found in the central library.

When?

  • regular meetings every two weeks
  • location: Heinz Heinen Kolleg, Heusallee 18–24, Bonn or online via Zoom
  • time frame: 2:00 pm, max two hours 

Events

covid 19.jpg

Click here for upcoming events

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Contact

Alexander Rothenberg: cad[at]dependency.uni-bonn.de

Francesca Della Ventura: francescadellaventura88[at]gmail.com


Document Actions