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Migrants’ regular army of labour: gender dimensions of the impact of the global economic crisis on migrant labor in Western Europe

Farris, Sara R.. 2015. Migrants’ regular army of labour: gender dimensions of the impact of the global economic crisis on migrant labor in Western Europe. The Sociological Review, 63(1), pp. 121-143. ISSN 0038-0261 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

he purpose of this article is to remedy the lack of explanatory endeavours concerning the positive performance of female migrant workers during the recent economic crisis in Western Europe. This phenomenon both interrogates the established association between economic downturns and their negative impact on migrant labour in low-skilled jobs and enriches the theory of the reserve army of labour, which has been applied to understanding the fragile status of migrant workers in Western economies. Secondary analysis of Labor Force Survey (LFS) and OECD data concerning the impact of the crisis on migrant labour shows that women employed in the care-domestic sector have been affected significantly less than men employed in manufacture and constructions. To explain this evidence, the article proposes a theoretical framework that draws on key concepts and debates in different strands of sociology: the increasing demand for paid care-domestic work due to the ageing population and the growth of native-born women's rates of activity; the commodification of care and the state management of migration; the affectivity and spatial fixity of care-domestic labour. All these factors contribute to configure female migrant labour, mostly employed in the reproductive sector, as a ‘regular’ rather than a reserve army of labour.

Item Type:

Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-954X.12185

Keywords:

global economic crisis; gender and migration; care and domestic labour; reserve army of labour; commodification of care

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology

Dates:

DateEvent
16 September 2015Published

Item ID:

11174

Date Deposited:

21 Jan 2015 11:05

Last Modified:

04 Jul 2017 15:48

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/11174

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