Fragmented Agricultural Productions and Circular Migrations: "New Spaces of Insecurity"

23.06.2011 bis 25.06.2011 - Konferenz

The agricultural production of fruits and vegetables in the greater Mediterranean region - from the Netherlands to Spain to Senegal - is characterized by entanglements and mutual interdependencies that are manifested on many different, but related, levels. Production sites - such as Bouches-du-Rhône, El Ejido and Souss-Massa - have emerged against a background of similar key factors; for example, European Union structural aids, World Bank loans, water scarcity, sunshine hours and transportation, heating, and labor costs. For that reason, these places should be considered as being part of a historical evolution and dynamic configuration of production and consumption between Europe and its neighboring countries. In the context of global commodity chains - shaped by agricultural politics and retail companies, for example, Carrefour and Aldi - agricultural production sites compete for trade quotas, export markets, and market niches. However, just as European competitors are relocating production to North Africa, so are Moroccan and Tunisian actors investing in Spain or France. In turn, capital-intensive mobile enterprises increasingly dominate production systems in both regions. Since 2008, in the course of the financial and food crises, a reorientation of global capital flows can be observed. Financial instruments and institutions have become involved more than ever before at all points of the agri-food system. At the same time, in the struggle to reduce production costs seasonal workers are being selectively recruited, illegally employed, and increasingly exploited. Together these dynamic factors result in processes of constant and selective (re)drawing of borders, while continuously producing new forms of flexibility, uncertainty, social insecurity, and spatial marginalization. The conference aims to investigate and critically analyze the diverse interactions of fragmentation and financialization of agricultural production systems on the one hand and (labor) migrations on the other. By that means, the conference contributes to a comprehensive understanding of these processes that transcends the separate examination of singular factors. The first part of the conference will highlight the greater Mediterranean region, while the second part will focus on complimentary case studies, for example, the United States, New Zealand or China.



  • Prof. Dr. Jörg Gertel