Occupational insertion in the agriculture represents one of the main specificities of the Mediterranean model of immigration. Even in contexts characterized by high levels of unemployment, immigrants find growing job opportunities in agriculture, replacing a native labour force increasingly educated and with growing expectations of social mobility that avoid the particularly demanding and socially penalizing jobs in this sector. However, the price paid by immigrants is often high: segregation in unskilled jobs, low wages, high level of precariousness and informality, and social marginalization and isolation. This article focuses on an extreme case that emphasizes binomial employment and segregation: the greenhouses of the transformed belt (fascia trasformata) in southern Sicily. In this area, immigrants represent the absolute majority of agricultural workers. However, they experience a much higher level of segregation and penalties in bad jobs compared to natives in any other part of Sicily or Italy. This immigration regime is functional to the transformation of local society as it responds to growth and defamilization of the peasant enterprise. Then, it also represents a consequence of the restructuring processes of contemporary agriculture and the global food market, where the exploitation of the growing competition between old and new migrants become the main way to contain production costs.

Employed but segregated: the exploitation of immigrant work in Mediterranean agriculture

Avola Maurizio
Primo
2022-01-01

Abstract

Occupational insertion in the agriculture represents one of the main specificities of the Mediterranean model of immigration. Even in contexts characterized by high levels of unemployment, immigrants find growing job opportunities in agriculture, replacing a native labour force increasingly educated and with growing expectations of social mobility that avoid the particularly demanding and socially penalizing jobs in this sector. However, the price paid by immigrants is often high: segregation in unskilled jobs, low wages, high level of precariousness and informality, and social marginalization and isolation. This article focuses on an extreme case that emphasizes binomial employment and segregation: the greenhouses of the transformed belt (fascia trasformata) in southern Sicily. In this area, immigrants represent the absolute majority of agricultural workers. However, they experience a much higher level of segregation and penalties in bad jobs compared to natives in any other part of Sicily or Italy. This immigration regime is functional to the transformation of local society as it responds to growth and defamilization of the peasant enterprise. Then, it also represents a consequence of the restructuring processes of contemporary agriculture and the global food market, where the exploitation of the growing competition between old and new migrants become the main way to contain production costs.
Agriculture
Immigration
Ethnic Penalty
Occupational segregation
Irregular employment conditions
Social marginality
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/522587
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