Conceptualizing Social Protection Interventions: Global and Transnational Perspectives

Conceptualizing Social Protection Interventions: Global and Transnational Perspectives
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Transnational Social Protection (TSP) focuses on the various individual and collective strategies for addressing the social risks faced by actors who cross national boundaries. In recent years, TSP has become a critical area of research due to the growing diversity of migration, increased global connections, and the social risks associated with migration - 53.1% of the world's population, including around 220 million migrant workers, lack access to formal social protection and relies on TSP. Many countries lack financial resources and face legal barriers in providing formal social protection to migrant workers. Therefore, conceptualizing how different forms of TSP interact with formal social protection can help to formulate better protection policies for the unprotected, poor, and vulnerable. This study reviews the existing literature on TSP to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the various forms and resources that migrants draw on to protect themselves against basic social risks within and across borders. The study proposes a framework for conceptualizing TSP, which builds upon existing approaches, sources, and provision mechanisms. Based on this, we conceptualize three major dimensions of TSP; 1) Transnational Social Assistance (TSA); 2) Transnational Social Insurance (TSI), and 3) Transnational Labor Market Measures (TSLMM), along with six forms of TSP, differentiated by their levels of formality and effectiveness. The research makes several novel contributions to the TSP literature: firstly, by synthesizing existing literature, the paper conceptualizes TSP into three major components: TSP assistance, TSP insurance, and TSP labour market measures. Secondly, the paper develops six TSP forms based on their levels of formality and effectiveness. Lastly, the paper presents a typology of the relationship between the six forms of TSP and formal social protection, which can aid in implementing better social protection policies for the unprotected.

Dr. Zahid Mumtaz is working as a lecturer at the School of Sociology at the Australian National University (ANU). He boasts an impressive academic background, with a PhD in Public Policy from the Crawford School of Public Policy at ANU, as well as master's degrees in Public Policy with a specialization in Social Policy, Political Science, and undergraduate degrees in Mathematics and Physics. Zahid's unique multidisciplinary research approach, which brings together social and natural sciences, has resulted in ground-breaking findings. His areas of expertise include formal, informal, and transnational social protection and the application of quantum artificial intelligence to improve social and public policy interventions. He has made a substantial impact in the field and his research has been featured in esteemed journals such as Social Policy and Administration and IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems. He is also the author of the book Informal Social Protection and Poverty. In addition to his academic accomplishments, Zahid has collaborated with international organizations such as the Asian Development Bank and GIZ, further demonstrating his expertise and reputation in the field.

Karolina Barglowski is Associate Professor in Sociology, Social Interventions and Social Politics at the University of Luxembourg. She specializes in issues of migrants’ social protection, family relations and transnational social inequality. Before joining the University of Luxembourg, she held several scientific positions at TU Dortmund University, Bielefeld University, University Duisburg-Essen, Max-Planck-Institute for the study of Ethnic and Religious Diversity, University of California in Berkeley, and University of Toruń. She has extensive experience in managing and leading research projects and in collaborating with various NGOs and stakeholders in migration and social protection. Her work has appeared in numerous international leading journals and she has co-edited various special issues related to the impact of migration and transnational incorporation on family life, dealing with social risks and social inequality.

Date & time

Mon 20 Mar 2023, 11am–12.30pm


Room 4.69, RSSS Building


Zahid Mumtaz
Karolina Barglowski


Rebecca Pearse


Updated:  17 February 2023/Responsible Officer:  RSSS Director/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications