Publication Details

Onuki, H. (2016). The neoliberal governance of global labor mobility: migrant workers and the new constitutional moments of primitive accumulation. Alternatives: global, local, political, 41 (1), 3-28.


One feature of the ''age of migration'' in which we live has been an increasing movement of labor from the Global South to the North, mainly in ''low-skill'' and low-wage jobs. This article examines how far and in what ways contemporary capital-driven migration-related policies in labor-receiving and labor-sending states have shaped the subjectivity of transnational migrant workers and their positioning in host societies. It does so through the notion of new constitutional moments of primitive accumulation that designates the production of social spaces for the commodification of labor through the implementation of specific migration policies by labor-receiving states in the Global North, which is reinforced by the interests of labor-sending states in the Global South. By using this concept, especially with reference to changes in Japan's immigration policy since the early 1990s, I argue that the governance of global labor mobility has not only separated migrant workers from their means of subsistence in the home societies but also constructed them as precarious subjects in the labor markets of the host societies.



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