Migrant Farmworkers in Southern Italy: Ghettoes, Caporalato and Collective Action , Workers of the World, Vol. 1, No. 5, 2014, pp. 75-98



This article discusses the condition of agricultural migrant workers in southern Italy. After a brief description of the general background, we will analyse two key features regarding the current situation: the state of segregation in which the workers live, and the organization of recruitment and work through the caporalato (gang-master system). To understand the importance of these aspects two areas will be compared, that of Boreano (Basilicata) and that of Nardò (Apulia), which both exemplify the central role of segregation and the illegal hiring methods of migrant workers. In the case of Nardò, we focus on the strike that involved several hundred African workers in August 2011. The analysis is based on material collected during qualitative research – in particular 54 in-depth interviews, and observations of living and working conditions, and the daily struggle of migrant workers – conducted in 2010, 2011, and 2012 in the two areas.