Social reproduction, migration and labour control regimes: understanding Filipino crew experiences in the UK fishing fleet

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Philip F. Kelly York University, Canada

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Ria Jhoanna Ducusin York University, Canada

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The notion of a labour control regime provides a conceptual framework for understanding the web of actors, institutions and norms that shape disciplinary mechanisms in the labour process. While labour regime approaches have drawn in multiple scales and diverse processes, this paper argues that international migration, and social reproduction in migrant source areas, must also be understood as part of the regime. Focusing on the case of Filipino migrants in the UK fishing industry, we use qualitative interviews conducted in the port of Fraserburgh, Scotland, and a migrant sending community in the province of Cebu, Philippines. We argue that the reproductive processes of workers’ lives in their home communities are an important underpinning of the labour regime they participate in when working on contracts overseas. We identify three sets of reproductive processes in particular: the trajectories of household poverty and debt that propel labour migration; the socialisation and social networks, as well as zones of recuperation, provided by home communities; and, the long-term temporalities of previous investments in fishery migration, as well as future aspirations for financial stability and intergenerational social mobility. While reproductive spaces and processes are not controlling mechanisms in themselves, they do represent an important part of the labour regime and they begin to explain migrant fishers’ forbearance in the face of a disciplinary labour regime.

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Philip F. Kelly York University, Canada

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Ria Jhoanna Ducusin York University, Canada

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