In this paper, Ben Rogaly investigates the agency of unorganised temporary migrant workers in India and the UK.


In this study, I focus on the agency of unorganised temporary migrant workers – people who travel away to work for just a few weeks or months. Such workers have been relatively neglected in labour geography. Perhaps surprisingly, given the focus on the agency of capital in much of his writing, I build on two arguments made by David Harvey. First, workers’ spatial mobility is complex and may involve short as well as longer term migrations, and secondly that this can have significance both materially and in relation to the subjective experience of employment. The spatial embeddedness of temporary migrant workers’ everyday lives can be a resource for shaping landscapes (and ordinary histories) of capitalism, even though any changes may be short-lived and take place at the micro-scale. The article is illustrated with case study material from research with workers in the agriculture sector in India and the UK, and concludes with more general implications for labour geographers engaged with other sectors and places.

Read and download the paper here.