Call for abstracts

To be submitted for review to Journal of Agrarian Change

Guest Editors: Tomaso Ferrando, Talia Esnard, Vasanthi Venkatesh and Vladimir Bogoeski 

Photo: Migrant farm Workers in Sicily (© Mariusz Smiejek)

Declared “essential” in many countries, migrant farm workers have been one of the most vulnerable worker categories during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has seen the unprecedented domestic and international migration of millions of farmworkers, and made visible their often hidden poor living and working conditions, while heightening the racism and xenophobia directed against them. The pandemic has not only brought long-established structures of exploitation and racist domination in the domain of farm work to the fore, it has widely exacerbated the precariousness of conditions of life and work. This has implications for forms of individual and collective consciousness, creating potential for new forms of organization and resistance. 

The symposium will locate farmworkers’ experiences of the Coronavirus pandemic among the broader histories and geographies of social relations and dynamics of production, property and power in agrarian settings and their processes of change. It will publish a collection of analytically sharp contributions (5,000 words max) that engage with how the pandemic has affected the lives and work of farmworkers in different ways, and whether it has opened spaces for organizing and solidarity or, on the contrary, accelerated the entrenchment of neoliberalism, securitization, nationalism, xenophobia, gender and racial subordination, mechanization and the suppression of resistance. 

We invite papers that address these questions from the perspective of agrarian political economy and use concrete examples to critically engage with the impact of the pandemic. Papers will be theoretically informed, but focused on the political urgency of the issues to be considered, which include: the mechanisms and intensity of violence in the countries of departure and arrival, the role of the state in reproducing subordination and conditions of visibility/invisibility, the entrenchment of racialized and gendered capitalism, the opening or foreclosing of spaces and forms of organization and resistance, and the construction of the migrant farmworker in political spaces and the public imaginary. 

Submission process: If you are interested in contributing, please send your abstract to migrantsymposium@gmail.com no later than 31st March 2021. Submitted abstracts should be no longer than 250 words. Authors of selected papers will be notified by 30th April 2021 and invited to submit a full article of 5,000 words by 30th August 2021. Standard Journal of Agrarian Change peer review and publishing procedures will apply. We anticipate online publication in early 2022.