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Journal article

From Fields of Power to Fields of Sweat: the dual process of constructing temporary migrant labour in Mexico and Canada

Date

2009

Authors

Leigh Binford

Abstract

This article examines the social construction of migrant labour
forces through an analysis of the exterior and interior conditioning in an
agricultural contract labour programme between Mexico and Canada. I argue
that forms of exterior conditioning, especially employers’ point-of-production
control, establishes the context within which migrant workers’ experience
unfolds, for which reason it contributes to their ‘interior conditioning’. But I
argue as well that the result is shaped by workers’ employment of a ‘dual frame
of reference’ through which they gauge Canadian wages and working conditions
the only way they can, which is in relationship to Mexican ones. Given that
neoliberal policies have reduced the options available in Mexico, and diminished
the attractiveness of those that remain, contract labour in Canada presents one
of the few opportunities many poor, rural Mexicans have to acquire the income
necessary for a minimally dignified life. Consequently most workers in this
programme do everything possible to please their employers and continue in the
programme.

Journal title

Third World Quartely

Volume

30

Issue

3

Page numbers

503-517

File Attachments

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Economic sectors

Agriculture and horticulture workers

Content types

Policy analysis, Documented cases of abuse, and Statistics on work and life conditions

Target groups

Researchers, Unions, and NGOs/community groups/solidarity networks

Geographical focuses

Ontario, México, and National relevance

Spheres of activity

Management of human resources and Sociology

Languages

English