COMMUNICATING MIGRATION SEMINARS: SEBASTIEN CHAUVIN – Sans-papiers into workers: how historic strikes changed the public face of undocumented migrants in France

May 12, 2014 @ 2:15 pm – 4:15 pm
UNI Rokkansenteret 6 et/5the floor
Nygårdsgaten 5
5015 Bergen

Sans-papiers into workers: how historic strikes changed the public face of undocuemented migrants in France

From 2008 to 2010, with the support of a coalition of trade unions and immigrant rights groups under the leadership of the Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT), thousands of France’s undocumented migrant workers conducted strikes and occupied their workplaces, demanding that their employers sponsor their regulatisation applications. Unheard of in French migration and labour history, the mobilization was based on a recent change in legislation allowing employers to solicit the regularisation of a migrant by providing a formal job offer. While the French government’s original intent was to make access to legal status contingent on employer decision alone, union action broadened its scope by bringing the whole employment relationship into the process, including the stakeholders and labour rights built into it by decades of social struggles, such as the right to strike and the right for striking workers to occupy their company without police intrusion. Based on three years of extensive participant observation and more than a hundred in-depth interviews with migrant workers, union and civil rights organization staff and activists, employers in the restaurant, cleaning, temporary staffing and construction industries, and French national and local government officials, our paper considers the strategic challenges encountered by this innovative movement which broke simultaneously with the more traditional repertoires of both French trade unions and the ‘sans-papiers’ movements of the preceding decade.

Related to the topic Chavin has also worked on a documentary film that he will bring with him:

sc_profile-webSébastien Chauvin is assistant professor of Sociology at the the University of Amsterdam and a researcher at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science
Research. He was a visiting lecturer at the University of Chicago from 2003 to 2006 and a
lecturer in sociology at the Université Paris 1-Panthéon Sorbonne from 2006 to 2008. He
conducted in-depth ethnographic fieldwork with mostly undocumented Hispanic immigrant
day laborers in the Chicago region, including the staffing industry that employed them, and
the social movements in which they mobilized, as part of his PhD dissertation (EHESS Paris,
2007). Since late 2007, he has been working on a collective study exploring the labor market
experience and following the union-supported mobilization of undocumented immigrant
workers in France. His main research deals with the relationship between civic inequality and
precarious work. He also keeps an active interest in gender and sexuality studies, social capital
and the sociology of elites, social theory, and the sociology of knowledge. He is the author
of a number of articles and book chapters, as well as Les agences de la précarité. Journaliers à Chicago (Paris: Le Seuil, 2010), Introduction aux études sur le genre (with L. Bereni, A. Jaunait, and A.Revillard ; Brussels : De Boeck, 2012, 2nd edition), and On bosse ici, on reste ici: La grève des sans-papiers: une aventure inédite (with P. Barron, A. Bory, N. Jounin, and L. Tourette ; Paris : La découverte, 2011).

Communicating Migration Seminar Series IMER Bergen spring and autumn 2014

The IMER seminar series for 2014 will cover how migration and ethnic relations are communicated in every-day encounters, in mass and social media, in politics and in teaching at the universities.  Has the way people talk about migration and migrants in different social contexts changed over time, and in which ways has it changed? How does migration theory and research fit in with other topics and theories in the social sciences, and how do results from migration research inform public debate and policy development? Communicating migration will be discussed from various angles in our seminar series on international migration and ethnic relations during spring and autumn 2014. We welcome papers that touch upon this broad theme from different angles.  Historical analyses of change over time in regard to politics and public debate, research foci and disciplinary concerns are specifically welcomed.  The seminar series will end with a two-day conference in October/November 2014.