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International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food

Published by Michigan State University

Official publication of the Research Committee on Sociology of Agriculture and Food (RC-40)
of the International Sociological Association (ISA)

Editors: Raymond Jussaume, Claire Marris and Katerina Psarikidou

Frequency: 3 issues per year 
ISSN: 0798-1759

Volume 19 Issue 1 (2012)

Keeping Them in Their Place: Migrant Women Workers in Spain’s Strawberry Industry                                          83-101

Author: Susan E. Mannon(a), Peggy Petrzelka(a), Christy M. Glass(a) and Claudia Radel(b)
Affiliation: (a)Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology, Utah State University, Logan, UT, U.S.A.; (b)College of Natural Resources, Utah State University, Logan, UT, U.S.A.

Abstract            PDF

The idea of guest-worker migration has resurfaced in recent decades as the global agri-food industry has confronted a shortage of workers willing to take low-wage and often seasonal jobs. To date, there have been very few cases studies of these twenty-first century guest-worker programs and their role in managing contemporary labor migration. This article examines guest-worker migration in the strawberry industry of southern Spain. In this case, guest-worker programs attempt to regulate and enforce the circular migration of foreign workers in Spain. By making future work contracts contingent on migrants’ return to their country of origin, by recruiting migrant workers from various countries, and by targeting women with dependent children, these programs help to discipline migrant workers into the rigors of circular migration. We argue that although the program has been lauded as a model of twenty-first century labor migration, it succeeds primarily by keeping foreign, low-wage, women workers ‘in their place’.

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