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The Political Economy of Border Drawing: Arranging Legality in European Labor Migration Policies

Regine Paul
Copyright Date: 2015
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 244
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  • Book Info
    The Political Economy of Border Drawing
    Book Description:

    The conditions for non-EU migrant workers to gain legal entry to Britain, France, and Germany are at the same time similar and quite different. To explain this variation this book compares the fine-grained legal categories for migrant workers in each country, and examines the interaction of economic, social, and cultural rationales in determining migrant legality. Rather than investigating the failure of borders to keep unauthorized migrants out, the author highlights the different policies of each country as "border-drawing" actions. Policymakers draw lines between different migrant groups, and between migrants and citizens, through considerations of both their economic utility and skills, but also their places of origin and prospects for social integration. Overall, migrant worker legality is arranged against the backdrop of the specific vision each country has of itself in an economically competitive, globalized world with rapidly changing welfare and citizenship models.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-542-4
    Subjects: Sociology, Law, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. INTRODUCTION. Labor Migration Management: An Interdisciplinary Interpretive Policy Analysis
    (pp. 1-16)

    Foreign workers are known to assuage structural bottlenecks in specific economic sectors or regions. Be it food processing, agriculture, hospitality and catering, social care work, medical professions, financial services, engineering, or information technology, migrant workers seem to play an important role in keeping entire economic sectors productive and competitive in European national economies (for the British example, see Ruhs and Anderson 2010b). In 2009, workers from abroad made up more than 13 percent of the Austrian labor force, 10 percent of the Belgian and Spanish, 9 percent of the German, and roughly 8 percent of the Italian and British (OECD...

  7. Part I. Border Drawing as a Framework for Migration Policy Analysis

    • CHAPTER 1 Labor Migration Management as Meaningful Border Drawing
      (pp. 19-42)

      This book sets out to understand how, exactly, states manage labor migration and how to explain variable policy approaches across Europe. How can we best conceptualize statutory migration management for this purpose? It is received wisdom that states manage migratory movements into (and sometimes out of) their territory by means of erecting and controlling borders. In an “age of migration” (Castles and Miller 2009), however, territorial borders seem increasingly permeable and unmanageable for nation-states. In consequence, many existing migration policy accounts tend to conceptualize borders as territorial demarcation lines that lose their effectiveness when migrants cross them or stay within...

    • CHAPTER 2 Border Drawing across Capitalist Economies, Welfare States, and Citizenship Regimes
      (pp. 43-72)

      This book is an invitation to envisage labor migration management as meaningful and selective border drawing, as a normatively underpinned classification of migrant workers into “the pot” or “the crop.” But what principles, exactly, guide border drawing and why are certain principles chosen to determine “legality”? This present chapter populates our border-drawing concept with empirical life: I engage with various regime literatures to develop a thorough set of assumptions about the comparative dynamics and rationalities of border drawing in German, French, and UK labor migration management.

      At the heart of this chapter lies the recognition that border drawing is a...

    • CHAPTER 3 Border Drawing in Context: Profiling Migration Histories and Policy Legacies for Comparative Analysis
      (pp. 73-102)

      According to Henk Wagenaar (2011:110f.), “meanings are actualized in a specific context-in-use, depending on the particular historical circumstances and the specific intentions, challenges and possibilities that actors face.” Without an elevated degree of case familiarity and in-depth acquaintance with the historical and political context of each case, comparative—and especially interpretive—policy analysis can only scratch the surface of a phenomenon under scrutiny. I thus follow those who argue that a nuanced ideographic account of cross-national similarities and differences requires in-depth comprehension of case specificities (Della Porta 2008; Hantrais 1999, 2009). If we are to understand why policies attach specific...

  8. Part II. Border Drawing in German, French, and British Labor Migration Policies

    • CHAPTER 4 What Makes Migrant Workers “Legal”? Mapping Entry Regulation
      (pp. 105-138)

      In the theoretical reflections preceding our case profiles much attention has been devoted to the distinction of “legal” and “illegal” migrant workers. This book is dedicated to understanding the construction of legal migrant worker categories in the process of border drawing, seeking to comprehend which norms guide the sorting of “the good into the pot” in labor migration policies, and explaining why they have been selected and arranged in a specific way. In order to grasp and compare in depth the sets of norms that guide the admission of foreign workers in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom this chapter...

    • CHAPTER 5 A “Tool for Growth”? The Shared Cultural Political Economy of Labor Migration Policies
      (pp. 139-163)

      The statements from German and British policy makers above reveal a need to respond flexibly to labor demands in different parts of the economy. The previous chapter has identified a shared legal classification of migrant workers by skill level and labor scarcity. Here we go on to seek explanations for cross-national similarities in labor migration management and find a consensus on economic border-drawing norms at the heart of this partial policy convergence.

      The analysis builds on interviews with high-ranking policy makers¹ in Berlin, Paris, and London, including former home of migrant workers by skill level and labor scarcity? The theoretical...

    • CHAPTER 6 “Poles Don’t Even Play Cricket!” Embedding Labor Migration Policies in National Socio-Cultural Norms
      (pp. 164-191)

      The cultural political economy of labor migration only goes halfway in explaining the classifications of migrant workers identified in chapter 4. Indeed, the analysis of interview data so far falls short of accounting for variegated patterns of selecting TCN workers by their origin, by domestically acquired skills, by anticipated welfare or socio-cultural cohesion effects, or with annual caps. The astonishment of a Jamaican resident at the fact that the incoming Polish workers “don’t even play cricket” (narrative related by a British trade unionist) is only one of the ways in which economic border-drawing logics are challenged. Much more than having...

  9. Conclusion. Border Drawing, Policy Analysis, and the Governance of Mobility in Europe
    (pp. 192-206)

    Certainly, our policy analysis has been limited to labor migration management, and even then only in three European countries. Here, however, we should step back from the fine brushstrokes on the canvas and contemplate the larger picture. Without giving in to the temptation of generalizing findings from a small-n study in one policy domain, the empirical material indicates some key dynamics and effects of border-drawing processes in Europe more generally speaking. The mechanisms and norms by which “legal” migrant workers are singled out among all potential foreign nationals—including those who already reside and potentially without authorization—have considerable implications...

  10. Documents and Interviews
    (pp. 207-210)
  11. References
    (pp. 211-227)
  12. Index
    (pp. 228-232)