Transnational Vulnerabilities in Governance, Employment, Health and Education: Finding Inclusive Solutions in the US and Africa
Rackham Assembly Hall, University of Michigan, United States
11-12 October 2013
At the very moment that governments in developed as well as developing countries are least able to provide support, the global crisis has increased demands on them to meet basic human needs for healthcare, housing, education, and security. In the absence of vigorous responses by governments from South Africa to the US, other actors—from businesses to community based organizations—have stepped into the breach to offer skills training, supply anti-retroviral drugs, provide affordable housing, or deliver security. As government budgets become more stretched in the US, Ghana, and South Africa, how has access to education, healthcare, and housing been affected across different socioeconomic groups in different countries? Moreover, as the delivery of services has become more decentralized and disjointed, which social groups have benefited and which have been overlooked?
This conference uses the tools of social research to identify and measure the major gaps and the greatest strains in health, housing, education, employment, and welfare at the national and sub-national levels on the African continent. Contributors also examine the vulnerabilities generated or exacerbated by the global economic downturn, growing inequality, and continuing deficiencies in the provision of public goods. Taking advantage of the University of Michigan’s location in southeastern Michigan, conference participants will be exposed not only to the economic and social vulnerabilities that some of Detroit’s most disadvantaged communities have experienced, but also to the creative solutions these communities have adopted to confront challenges in health care, housing, education, and employment.
Recognizing that many vulnerabilities are transnational makes possible the discussion and application of solutions that transcend national boundaries. One of the goals of the conference then is to bring scholars and policymakers into dialogue with each other about the most advanced techniques for conducting social research and how research findings can be translated into policies that are both inclusive and equitable. We aim to share tools and techniques of data analysis that have been developed at the University of Michigan, and to highlight the work of emerging scholars from the continent of Africa and the United States.