Visibilities of Surplus: Latino Migrant Day Laborers and Social Reproduction in Urban Borderzones

Authors: Daniel Olmos*, University of Denver
Topics: Ethnicity and Race, Urban Geography, Migration
Keywords: migrantion, urban planning, surplus labor, social control, governmentally
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Studio 5, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Scholars have often characterized border controls primarily as exceptional sovereign devises of exclusion and expulsion operating at the edges of nation-state territories. While such accounts point toward important sites of politico-economic regulation, they belie the unique ways in which borders are geographically flexible technologies of difference operating within national interiors to manage the 'subordinate inclusion' of precarious migrant labor in various city-regional political economies. This presentation argues that global cities such as Los Angeles instantiate a series of articulated borderzones that delimit the economic and social reproduction circuits of Latina/o migrant communities, specifically through the production and governance of surplus informality. Informed by an 'autonomy of migration' approach, the presentation demonstrates that city-regions and their local ordinances are important terrains of border struggle by examining the regulation of day laborers in Redondo Beach, CA from 1984 to 2011. Drawing on newspaper accounts and local government archives about an anti-solicitation ordinance, the presentation suggests that migrant day laborer solicitation is articulated into the circuits of urban political economy as visible 'ungovernable surplus'. While these visibilities of surplus are a necessary condition for the social reproduction of labor power that are articulated to racialization processes of migrant illegality at the urban scale, they also form the basis for the mobilization of migrant counter-power and the organization of the 'right to the city'.

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