Non-Western Migration Regimes

Legal adaptation of migrant workers in hybrid political regimes: Towards rethinking [Western-Centric] migrant legal adaptation frameworks

Funding

University of Helsinki, 3-year Research Grant, 2019-2021

Abstract

The project aims to improve our current understanding of how migrants produce new forms of informal governance and legal order. This may lead to new theoretical insights on the functioning of the social fabric involving state actors, non-state legal orders and residents without legal rights (migrants) in the chain of law-and-order making. The project, using the cases of Russia and Turkey, archetypal hybrid political regimes and one of the largest recipients of migrants worldwide, suggests that legal adaptation of migrants needs to be understood not only in terms of migrants’ legalisation efforts and involvement with the state institutions, but more importantly in terms of their knowledge of the street law and capacity to adapt to weak-rule-of-law environment. The project makes a case for the necessity to move beyond the [Western- centric] immigrant adaptation frameworks, arguing that in hybrid regime contexts, migrants are not passive entities but have agency and they use that agency and the opportunities provided by the weak rule-of-law and the corrupt political system to negotiate with informal channels to access employment and other opportunities that are hard to obtain in the current legal framework of the host country.

This project has two specific goals: (1) theoretically, it aims to develop new theoretical perspectives on migrant legal adaptation in hybrid political regimes; and (2) empirically, it produces original empirical data about the migrant legal adaptation strategies in Russia and Turkey. This project is built on an interdisciplinary approach and bridges diverse bodies of literature on socio-legal studies of migration, immigrant integration, hybrid political regimes, legal pluralism and shadow economy, which will generate new insights and approaches to studying various dimensions of labour migration globally.

Researchers in the Aleksanteri Institute

Rustam Urinboyev, Principal Investigator
Mirzokhid Karshiev, Doctoral Candidate