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Temporal fix, hierarchies of work and post-socialist hopes for a better way of life
journal contributionposted on 06.05.2021, 10:16 by Aija Lulle
This paper proposes to rethink the agriculture–migration nexus through the notions of temporal fix and migrant hierarchies. Its empirical setting is the post-socialist migration of Latvians who move to the Channel Island of Guernsey and to Norway, where they take temporary jobs picking crops such as tomatoes and strawberries. I analyse both how agricultural migrants are viewed by others and how they evaluate themselves. The research material comes from long-term ethnographic engagement with Latvian migrants in these two destinations. In both geographical contexts, temporary agricultural work positions migrants at the bottom of the labour hierarchy. Yet, because of their experience of agriculture in the homeland in Soviet and early post-Soviet times, and because being close to nature is part of Latvian cultural identity, such work is viewed as fundamental and positive. Experiences abroad are nevertheless ‘shocking’ because of the tough work under strict capitalist regulations. Yet the work is endured either as a step to a better job abroad, or as a means of accumulating income for a better life upon return ‘home’.
European Social Fund scholarship
Academy of Finland grant
DEMOMIG project, State Research Programme, University of Latvia. Grant No:2018/1-0015
Academy of Finland, University of Eastern Finland TRANSLINES project, Grant No: 14960-288 552
- Social Sciences and Humanities
- Geography and Environment