This panel aims at brining together researchers interested in better understanding of the phenomenon of global labour in rural societies. Throughout recent decades, rural areas in Europe have been attracting global labour force supplying man power for rural industries and contributing to demographic refill of inevitably depopulating rural communities. While for some European rural regions this represents merely a continuation of a long tradition of migration, others experience the appearance of ‘unexpected groups in unexpected places’ (Camero & Oliva, 2016) and become ‘New Immigrant Destinations’ (McAreavey, 2017). Our panel seeks in-depth knowledge on how these reconfigurations of global labour migration and rural societies affect one another, what are the perspectives of those who arrive and locals, and what are implications of migration for processes of rural transformation, social change, re-composition, and future of rural communities.
Our panel seeks to gather perspectives on global labour in rural societies in both old and new immigrant destination countries. The distinction between old and new immigrant destination relies on multiple facets and in this panel we wish to investigate some of them. Among the central themes are differences in the ways the migration is structured, organized and managed, the differences in migrants’ positionalities, their ability to exercise agency, but also level of protection (social, economic, legal), or the dynamics of local contexts of reception. Understanding the receiving ends is crucial to assess the overall impact of migration including the situation of the employers relying on the migrant work force, developing migration industry, and experiences, attitudes and responses of rural communities to rapidly changing social fabrics.
A further and central goal of the panel is to address the issue of migration to rural areas and work in rural industries amidst the exceptional time of the Covid-19 pandemic. Much of the ongoing discussions about harsh conditions of work and situation of the migrant workers in rural industries in EU receiving countries (see Rye, O’Reilly 2020) has been put in new light during the pandemic crisis. While it has gathered significant public attention, many issues remain under-researched and need to be addressed in a more systematic manner. Some of these relate to, i.a. the social, economic and health protection afforded to migrant workers or their employers or fast track solutions adopted in the sector of agri-food production and their impact on the every-day functioning of the rural communities in many migrant-receiving countries, both old and new.
Overall, in this panel we want to discuss and analyse the old, the new and the unexpected results of global migration in rural areas. By comparing new and old destinations countries and their receiving localities we are able to better grasp the processes at play and their potentially diverse implications and consequences for rural communities. We invite papers that both theoretically and empirically contribute to discussion on these issues from sociological, and anthropological perspectives.