Winners of the SNIS Award 2017

The SNIS Award 2017, prized at CHF 10’000, has been attributed ex aequo to Dr Julien Debonneville (University of Geneva) and Dr Roxana Radu (The Graduate Institute).

The jury members praised Dr Debonneville’s research as “particularly brilliant when it comes to the theoretical interpretation of the ethnographic data that he collected and the theoretical discussion of the various traditions in subaltern studies, gender studies, post-colonial studies and historical socioloy.

As to Dr Radu’s thesis, the jury noted: “The author masters an incredible amount of complexity and is able to come up with a readable text that conveys as sense of the complex matters”.

Global Rules for Emerging Issue Domains: Negotiating the Governance of the Internet

Dr Roxana Radu

PhD thesis defended at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, (December 2016), under the supervision of Professor Thomas J. Biersteker

Dr Radu’s thesis deals with the evolution of internet and its preservation of integrity as a single network, despite its fragmented nature and with authoritative decision-making from different sources. This thesis sets out a novel, comprehensive framework for theorising a nascent policy field and for analyzing its evolution empirically.

Roxana Radu is Programme Manager at the Geneva Internet Platform and Research Associate at the Graduate Institute’s Programme for the Study of International Governance. She currently serves as Chair of Internet Society – Switzerland. She holds a PhD in International Relations from the Graduate Institute and an MA in Political Science from the Central European University. Her research and publications explore global governance and internet policy-making.

Read Abstract
What is at stake for how the Internet continues to evolve is the preservation of its integrity as a single network. In practice, however, its governance is neither centralised nor unitary. It is piecemeal and fragmented, with authoritative decision-making coming from different sources simultaneously. To understand how governance emerges and becomes articulated over time in complex issue domains such as the Internet, this thesis sets out a novel, comprehensive framework for theorizing a nascent policy field and for analyzing its evolution empirically. There are three novel aspects of this work: (a) theory-building on the genesis and structuration of governance; (b) unique analysis of over 300 instruments of governance (between 1969 and 2015); (c) first analysis of anchoring practices in Internet governance. This interdisciplinary research adopts a broad perspective that touches on questions of power, rule-creation and praxis of governance. Establishing the case for a wider research agenda on emerging issue areas in International Relations, it responds to calls for understanding dynamic systems of rule as they come into place in contested governance configurations by proposing an empirically-grounded history of Internet governance from the 1970s to date.

Les écoles de la servitude aux Philippines : des carrières migratoires de travailleuses domestiques aux processus d’altérisation. Pour une approche socio-anthropologique des études postcoloniales

Dr Julien Debonneville

PhD thesis defended at the Geneva School of Social Sciences, University of Geneva (March 2016), under the supervision of Professor Delphine Gardey and Professor Elisabeth Prügl

Through an ethnographic study of the migratory mechanisms in the Philippines, Dr Debonneville’s thesis examines the production of alterization processes in the context of the globalized economy of care. It furthermore questions the social representation associated to the Philippine domestic worker, often called “Filipina”. More broadly, the thesis offers a reflection on the contribution of post-colonial studies in social sciences.

Sociologist by training, Dr. Julien Debonneville is senior researcher and teaching assistant at the Institute for Gender studies at the University of Geneva. Julien Debonneville holds a PhD in gender studies from the University of Geneva, and a Master degrees in social sciences from the University of Lausanne. He also held visiting positions at UC Berkeley (Department of Ethnic studies) and at the University of the Philippines – Diliman (Department of Women and Development Studies). His main research topics are : gender inequalities, migrations and mobility, care economy and reproductive labor, the coloniality of power, the social construction of otherness, and the intersectionality of power relations.

Read Abstract
Cette thèse analyse les processus transnationaux de fabrication de l’altérité, et ses effets, dans le cadre de l’économie mondialisée du care en interrogeant les représentations sociales associées à la figure de « la travailleuse domestique philippine », souvent nommée « Filipina » (Philippine). Plus spécifiquement, cette recherche décrit, sur la base d’une ethnographie du dispositif migratoire philippin centrée sur les phases de recrutement et de formation des migrantes, comment ce dispositif constitue un espace social normatif dans lequel différentes techniques de gouvernementalité cohabitent afin de (co)produire une altérité « Filipina » sexualisée et racialisée par l’intermédiaire de la construction de la qualification et de la fabrication des corporalités. Le travail ethnographique mené dans le cadre de cette thèse permet de décrire comment les attentes supposées des employeur-e-s, et des agences de recrutement nationales et internationales, participent à mettre en place une construction genrée et racisée de la qualification dans le travail domestique centrée sur des critères tels que l’âge, le statut marital, la “couleur de la peau“, l’origine régionale, mais également des savoir-faire (faire le ménage, la cuisine, prendre soin des personnes âgées et des enfants), et surtout des savoir-être (politesse, dévouement au travail, obéissance, respect, etc.). À partir de l’étude des carrières migratoires des femmes philippines employées comme travailleuses domestiques, cette thèse montre ainsi comment ces dernières sont réifiées autour de qualités supposées – tels que la « docilité », la « capacité d’ajustement », le « dévouement » – héritées d’une histoire coloniale, et maintenues dans un dispositif migratoire par des enjeux économiques et politiques. Cette enquête sociologique propose ainsi un nouveau regard sur le rôle des mécanismes de production de « la Filipina » dans la fabrication et la cristallisation des identités au sein des circuits migratoires de l’économie mondialisée du care.