International Labour Migration and Food Production in Rural Europe: A Review of the Evidence
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionSociologia Ruralis. 2018, 58 (4), 928-952. 10.1111/soru.12208
Since Hoggart and Mendoza's article on ‘African immigrant workers in Spanish agriculture’ in Sociologia Ruralis in 1999 there has been a proliferation of interest in labour migration to/in rural Europe. It is now clear that the rural realm has been, and is being, transformed by immigration, and that low‐wage migrant workers in the food production industry are playing a particularly prominent role in this transformation. This article takes stock of the literature and identifies seven key issues associated with low‐wage labour migration, contemporary food production, and rural change. Most notably, since the 1990s, there has been growing demand for migrants in the segmented, and sometimes exploitative, labour markets of the European food production industries. This demand has been met across a variety of contexts, with states and labour market intermediaries playing a largely supportive role. However, migrants’ integration into rural communities has often been problematic, with the emphasis being on the need for, rather than needs of, low‐wage migrant workers.