Precarious Irregular Migrants and Their Sharing Economies: A Spectrum of Transactional Laboring Experiences
AbstractThere is growing interest in the sharing economy as a different way of living in neoliberal capitalist societies, but this discussion is frequently heavily classed and the ethos generally rests on excess capacity of goods and services. This article intervenes in this emerging body of writing to argue that it is equally important to explore the types of sharing and exchange that are survival-compelled among those with precarious livelihoods. Precarious migrants are a group facing significant livelihood pressures, and we are concerned here with a particular category of insecure migrants: irregular migrants including refused asylum seekers in the United Kingdom. Such migrants are especially shaped by their sociolegal status, and without rights to work or welfare they are susceptible to exploitation in their survival-oriented laboring. Existing literature from labor geographies and the subdisciplinary area of unfree and forced labor has not generally focused on the experiences of these migrants as house guests in domestic realms, nor has it thoroughly explored their transactional labor. As such, this article argues that the moral economies of gifting and sharing within such labor create and reproduce particular social structures, cultural norms, and relationships that position people along a spectrum of freedom and exploitation.
Waite, L. and Lewis, H. (2017) Precarious Irregular Migrants and Their Sharing Economies: A Spectrum of Transactional Laboring Experiences. Annals of the American Association of Geographers. ISSN 2469-4452