Class, Migration and Bordering at Work: The Case of Precarious Harvest Labour in the UK

O'Reilly, Karen ORCID: 0000-0002-5887-9279 and Scott, Sam ORCID: 0000-0002-5951-4749 (2023) Class, Migration and Bordering at Work: The Case of Precarious Harvest Labour in the UK. Nordic Journal of Migration Research, 13 (2). Art 3. doi:10.33134/njmr.507

11719 O'Reilly, Scott (2023) Class, migration and bordering at work - the case of precarious harvest labour in the UK.pdf - Published Version
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This paper draws on symbolic bordering perspectives as a conceptual frame to highlight practices that shape the reproduction, justification, masking, and distancing of precarious work. Via a case-study of the UK harvest labour market in 2020-21, at a time of Brexit and Covid-19, we use media, employer, and locally-based worker insights to show how us-them bordering practices are embedded within low-wage horticultural work. Three interrelated everyday bordering tropes are identified from the analysis of the data. First, while migrant harvest work is celebrated as valuable and essential, it is also portrayed as work achieved by, and suitable for, a constantly shifting, multi-dimensional, and therefore ambiguously defined ‘other’. These ‘others’ and their work are notably valued in so far as they perform their work in particular ways that define them as ‘good neoliberal agents’. Finally, a particular focus at the height of Covid-19, was on how low-wage ‘others’ were portrayed as providing service and duty to align with a national ‘community of shared values’. These interrelated symbolic forms of bordering help to mask the exploitative nature of low-wage work and perform an important role in contemporary (transnational) class production/ reproduction.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bordering; Class; Horticulture; Labour; Migration; Work
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Place, Environment and Community
Depositing User: Sam Scott
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2022 14:57
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2024 14:06

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