IMISCOE Annual Conference: Migration and Time. Temporalities of mobility, governance and resistance

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference


‘Just-in-time’ labour: the role of transnational businesses in shaping temporalities of migration
Abstract: Of recent, migration scholarship has begun to explore the relationship between migration, time and capitalism. What remains largely unaddressed is the role transnational corporations and their business models are playing in shaping temporalities of migration. In this paper I aim to take forward the current discussions on migration, time and capitalism by bringing two distinct bodies of scholarship to bear on migration studies. First, I build on insights from Organisation Studies to show how, within transnationally organised circuits of production, transnational corporations pursue profitability and efficiency by synchronizing the supply of labour with time of production. I refer to this model as ‘just-in-time labour’ so to suggest that firms treat migrant workers according to the logic of just-in-time assembly, that is, attempt to acquire the type of workers needed, at the time needed, and in the quantity needed. Second, I draw on feminist sociological theories to show how the method of just-in-time operationalizes an economic-utilitarian notion of time. I show how such notion decontextualizes time from the flux of everyday life and from social relations of reproduction. I illustrate both aspects of my argument empirically by drawing on the original data I gathered via interviews with migrant workers in electronics manufacturing in Central and Eastern Europe. I thus demonstrate how the just-in-time logic is reshaping migration flows into shorter and quicker migration circuits while at the same time engendering forms of control over labour that are impeding the enforcement of migrant workers employment and social rights.
Period29 Jun 20221 Jul 2022
Event typeConference
Conference number19
LocationOslo, NorwayShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational