Foreign workers: On the other side of gendered, racial, political and ethical borders

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Organization, 2019, 26 (3), pp. 313 - 320
Issue Date:
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© The Author(s) 2019. While political issues related to migration and work have been explored in great detail from the perspective of, inter alia, industrial relations, international business, economics and of course migration studies itself, they have been notably absent from any real consideration at all in organization studies. This appears as an almost wilful omission of one of the most pressing political issues facing the post-globalized world, as well as one in which work organizations are centrally implicated. This article, and the Special Issue which it introduces, explores how what it means to be a ‘foreign’ worker is deeply influenced by and connected to sexuality, gender, politics and ethics. We consider individual differences, context-specific experiences and dynamic processes through which the sexed, gendered and classed category of the foreign worker is constructed, enacted and resisted. We find that class, race and gender serve to shape a sense of foreignness that is central to the meaning and experience of work. The machinations of power are never far away, as people’s differences come to be used as an axis of actual and potential oppression, coercion and exploitation.
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