Theorizing migrants’ precariousness and agency in intensive agriculture of Greece

Authors: Loukia-Maria Fratsea*, Harokopio University, Department of Geography, Apostolos Papadopoulos, Harokopio University, Department of Geography, Antigoni Faka, Harokopio University, Department of Geography
Topics: Ethnic Geography, Migration, Agricultural Geography
Keywords: precarity, agency, migrant labour, agriculture, Greece
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Marriott Ballroom Salon 1, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Since the early 1990s, migrant labour has gradually become a structural factor of agricultural production and rural development in Greece. During this period migration scholars have analysed the opportunities, actions and trajectories taken by migrants in their attempt(s) to integrate and/or secure their livelihoods in rural Greece. However, since 2008/10 the economic recession has altered the socio-economic conditions in the country and deteriorated the integration prospects and challenges for migrants.
This paper aims at theorizing migrants’ precarity and agency in an intensive agricultural production area in Western Greece, where more than 90 percent of Greece’s strawberry production is concentrated. Methodologically the paper is based on extensive fieldwork which took place before and during the economic crisis (2007-2018) and combining quantitative and qualitative data. The paper sheds light on the working and living conditions, housing patterns and social trajectories of migrants while the multiple dimensions of migrant labour precarity in the rural localities and the different aspects of migrant agency are thoroughly discussed. The analysis of the empirical material is enriched by looking at the ethnic hierarchy and by correlating migration influx patterns with living and housing conditions of the different ethnic groups. The paper concludes by stressing the need for a more nuanced theorization of migrant labour precarity, agency and social stratification in rural areas.

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