A harvest of bare living conditions
: A Moroccan enclave within the global food system

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Year-round, fresh foods such as tomatoes are available in supermarkets of the Global North. Yet, experiences of workers and the ways that working and living conditions are normalised, often go under-explored. In this thesis, insights from transdisciplinary theoretical literature and, particularly, the world ecology perspective, are used to promblematise assumptions about wage-work in the global food system. Demonstrating how dynamics of discrimination, in this case gender-focused, are accentuated through territorial stigma, the thesis shows how low socio-economic status of agri-food workers is reproduced within enclaves of global food production. This research focuses on one enclave, the town of Ait Amira, in Southern Morocco, where qualitative fieldwork including ethnographic observation, in-depth interviews and a workshop was carried out. The ethnographic observation followed language learning and preliminary visits. The research data analysis was a thorough inductive process that led to the emergence of five analytical chapters.

Experiences considered in this research illustrate serious challenges for workers in contexts of global production. These are outlined through themes which depict dynamics of global production faced by workers. Three chapters illustrate workers’ challenges through the narratives of ‘no money’, ‘no respect’ and ‘no time’. A fourth chapter addresses a climate of, ‘no silence!’ in which workers resist poor conditions and their normalisation. The fifth analytical chapter, ‘no hiding’, shows how global dynamics affecting workers’ lives are not hidden and are evident to workers, who consider them with distain. Ultimately, this thesis suggests that studies of the global food system should take account of dynamics that differentially include and ostracise workers. The thesis concludes that enclaves permit and restrict connections across the global food system, and, through low pay and territorial stigma, they are systematically reproduced. Year-round fresh food is deeply connected to daily struggles of workers as they secure Europeans’ access to tomatoes in winter.
Date of Award25 Jun 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorTonia A Novitz (Supervisor), Dr Emma Carmel (Supervisor) & Adrian G Flint (Supervisor)

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