Borders and Neoliberalism in Agriculture


Borders, (Im)mobilizations and Neoliberalism in Agriculture at the time of Covid

In an agro-food sector of major strategic interest in the context of a pandemic, the construction of spatial and sanitary barriers in Europe has overshadowed the indispensable contribution of foreign labour in a globalised agriculture, revealing the sector's dependence on intra- and extra-Community flows of workers. The FINCA project analyses the variations and invariants in the employment of foreigners at different spatial (Bouches-du-Rhône/Huelva, Mediterranean, Europe) and temporal scales, favouring a dual diachronic and synchronic approach to the changes in these employment systems ("farm shopping"). FINCA cross-references different types of sources: media, statistics, biographical and legal, collected over different time spans, in order to highlight the structural and cyclical dynamics of foreigner employment on the surveyed sites. To this end, the project is analysing an 800-page media corpus (15 March-30 July 2020) and carrying out a statistical processing of unpublished sources on IMO/OFII contracts and contratos en origen and mission contracts (ETT), in order to show the complementarity between public actors and private service providers.

Simultaneously, the project aims to produce a synthesis of qualitative observations conducted from March 2020 to July 2021 to document the employment and living conditions of workers (biographical accounts, film and photographic snapshots) in two enclaves of intensive agriculture in France (arboriculture in Crau) and Spain (strawberry cultivation in Huelva). Finally, FINCA provides a methodical review of the production of national laws and European directives aimed at regulating "social dumping", but also of the orders issued by public authorities to curb the risks of transmission of Covid-19 in accommodation and workplaces. The complementary study of current Case Law and trials will bear witness to the exemption regimes and the risks of systemic discrimination against these exceptional workers. The results produced in the form of topograms (heuristic diagrams), flow dynamics graphs, topographic maps and film snapshots will be put online in a research notebook and will feed into interdisciplinary publications at the crossroads of the disciplines represented (Sociology, Geography, Computer Science and Law).


Project Coordination

FINCA project leaders: Frédéric Décosse (LEST) and Béatrice Mésini (TELEMMe)


October 2020 to March 2022

Employment of foreigners
France, Spain