Migrant Labour, Casualization of Work and Social Clashes in Greek Agriculture: A ‘Post-Crisis' Aftermath

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 15:09
Location: Hörsaal 50 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Apostolos PAPADOPOULOS, Harokopio University of Athens, Department of Geography, Greece
Loukia-Maria FRATSEA, Harokopio University of Athens, Greece
The study of rural social structure in Greece unveils a diversity of family farm types which are gradually transformed into farm businesses or subsistence family units, while new social strata emerge due to the presence of migrant labour which is employed as regular or seasonal labour force. However, large number of migrants and segments of the indigenous population are increasingly affected by the casualization of labour in agriculture, which has significant repercussions upon the intensive agriculture systems and the well-being in rural areas.

Migrant labour has been of immense importance for increasing agricultural productivity in labour intensive agricultural systems, while its impact in local societies and economies has been highly disputed. The hierarchy of migrants, the ethnic division of labour, the employment conditions and the increasing antagonisms/ conflicts between migrants and farmers are major issues which will be discussed in the paper.

In Greece the ‘return to the countryside’ movement, which is considered by some commentators as a side-effect of the economic crisis, is related mostly to the reproduction of urban consumption patterns and less to an agrarian way of life. Migrants are those who are destined to carry out the manual tasks, while the returnees just like the farmers aspire to higher status jobs or to managerial tasks within agriculture.

The paper is based on a systematic analysis of the available statistical data provided by the Greek Statistical Service and also on empirical data collected at different time periods - before and during the economic crisis, in rural Greece. The focus of the paper is to compare the situation in Greek agriculture before and after the economic crisis, with the expressed aim to look at how migrant labour is incorporated into a constantly changing Greek rural society and economy.