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Title: The political economy of everyday precarity : segmentation, fragmentation and transnational migrant labour in Californian agriculture
Author: Mieres, Fabiola
ISNI:       0000 0004 5355 8622
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis examines the qualitative transformation taking place within the processes of transnationalisation of labour markets that drive a substantive increase in the segmentation and fragmentation of migrant labour. The thesis argues that by either focusing on the agential elements or strictly structural constraints, conventional perspectives on the role of intermediaries in processes of international migration lack a comprehensive transnational theorisation of labour markets. A focus on the transnationalisation of labour markets through the role of cross-border farm labour contractors aims to address these limitations by analysing the complex nature of processes of transnationalisation in the provision of migrant labour in Californian agriculture. A transnational labour market approach is developed to show how three regimes of segmentation-fragmentation operate at the Federal (nation-state) and state (regional) levels and also at a local level through the actions of farm labour contractors in the organisation of movement and workplace practices along formal and informal lines. The core argument of this thesis is that the tensions between fragmentation and segmentation within the process of transnationalisation of labour markets between Mexico and the United States conflate in everyday precarity for migrant workers. Everyday precarity involves not only the conditions under which migrant workers perform their activities in the workplace, but also extends beyond to include aspects of their everyday lives in a transnational fashion. Farm labour contractors play an important role in organising and coordinating flexibility in fragmented agricultural labour markets. Through their position at the heart of the tensions of the interplay between the three regimes, farm labour contractors gain power over the labour process, thereby contributing to further fragmentation. This power is linked to the migration and protection policies established by nation-states at the first regime of segmentation-fragmentation, and is also shaped by the regional (Californian) labour legislation at the second regime of segmentation-fragmentation. The thesis concludes that a transnational theorisation of labour markets, which places intermediaries such as farm labour contractors within the tensions of processes of transnationalisation that account for not only segmentation but also fragmentation, is required to fully understand everyday precarity beyond national boundaries. Therefore, farm labour contractors are key channels of transnationalisation by contributing to further fragmentation at the local level in already highly segmented labour markets.
Supervisor: Wilkinson, Rorden; Barrientos, Stephanie Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Labour Markets ; Migration ; International Political Economy ; Precarity ; Labour Contractors