Search International Institute website.

Global Migrants, Guest Workers and Good Mothers: Gender and (Con)Temporary Labor Migration to Spain

A CEES public lecture by Christy Glass, Utah State University, Sociology. Part of the UCLA Department of Sociology's Irene Flecknoe Ross Lecture Series.

Thursday, October 25, 2012
12:00 PM
10383 Bunche Hall

How is gender shaping social policy, employment practices and migration circuits in the global agri-food industry? Guest worker programs have resurfaced in recent years as agriculture employers confront a shortage of workers willing to work labor intensive, low wage and often seasonal jobs. In response to anti-immigration backlash, employers and policy-makers have begun crafting guest worker programs that enforce circular migration, designing labor contracts contingent on migrants’ return to their home country following the expiration of the contract. I will discuss one such program currently being touted as a model for migration management in the European Union. Policy makers and employers in Spain’s strawberry industry have implemented a pilot program that exclusively recruits Moroccan women with dependent children. This practice is guided by the assumption that mothers’ emotional attachment to children will compel their return to their home country. Interviews with policy makers, employers, trade union officials and guest workers reveal the ways in which political and economic factors in Spain and Morocco have shaped recruitment and hiring practices over time. After several experiments with various categories of workers, employers and policy makers in both countries have come to view mothers as the ideal worker due to their acquiescence to the discipline and rigors of circular migration.

Christy Glass is Associate Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology, Social Work & Anthropology, Utah State University.
Her research interests include comparative social change, work and labor markets, social inequalities, welfare state institutions and gender. Dr. Glass is currently conducting comparative research of labor market institutions and welfare state policies during the transition from state socialism to market capitalism in Central and Eastern Europe and Russia. In a future project, she will compare intra-firm processes, employer preferences, and work-based outcomes in the United States and Central Europe.

Sponsor(s): Center for European and Eurasian Studies, Program on International Migration, Department of Gender Studies, Department of Sociology Gender Working Group, Department of Sociology Family Working Group

Search International Institute website.