Welcome to this PhD start-up seminar

with Karen Ravn Vestergaard, PhD Student in International Migration and Ethnic Relations (IMER), Malmö University.

The Struggle for (Re)Producing Food and Life: Organizing Informalized Migrant Labor in the Neoliberal Era

Main supervisor and moderator of the seminar

Professor Maja Povrzanović Frykman, Malmö University 


Nahikari Irastorza, Project researcher, Malmö University

The seminar starts with short commentaries from associate professor Erica Righard and associate professor Michael Strange.

This doctoral research seeks to examine the options and challenges that trade unions, social movements, and self-organized groups meet when attempting to organize migrant and/or seasonal workers laboring across food supply chains. More specifically, it seeks to look at (examples of organizing) migrant labor within the agricultural, distribution, and service sectors in the context of Denmark and Sweden. Particularly in the last decades’ neoliberal reorganization of the global economy, the global and European labor market has experienced a significant rise in international labor migration alongside austerity measures, processes of commodification and privatization of the agricultural sector as well as of social reproduction, and disinvestment in social welfare. Among other factors, such economic transformations have resulted in lower wages, increasing informalized labor and precarity, and pressures of lowering food costs on a global scale, all which challenge the conditions for traditionally strong trade unions in countries like Denmark and Sweden. Despite being popularly referred to as ‘essential workers’ during the COVID-19 pandemic, the living and working conditions of migrant and/or seasonal workers within food supply chains are often characterized by temporality, informality, and precarity, thus paving the way for lowering the costs of labor. Such conditions further facilitate challenges to the question of organizing migrant workers for (nationally bounded) unions and movements due to the temporality of their employment, and often because their working and living conditions are precarious and isolated (spatially). This dissertation will therefore also engage in questions of organizing transnationally and in collaboration with civil society actors.


The seminar takes place online via zoom

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Meeting ID: 676 2245 2174
Passcode: 710165