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Published May 2, 2024 | Version v1
Working paper Open

Towards an Everyday Political Economy of Labour Migration

  • 1. ROR icon University of Birmingham


This IRIS Working Paper introduces the concept of everyday political economy (EPE) to the issue of international labour migration, which has grown in political and economic prominence in the 21st century. The first section of the paper is a literature review regarding existing explanations of labour mobilities from the perspectives of international political economy (IPE), feminist studies, poststructuralist literature, anthropology and human geography, noting their strengths, limitations, and overlaps. Next, EPE is proposed as a way of reconciling the big picture of IPE with the mundane tactics, routines and realities of migrant labourers’ everyday lives. In this way, EPE is especially useful for understanding the agency of local actors to embrace, evade, resist and/or be disciplined and subjectivised in relation to powerful state and market structures. Finally, the utility of an EPE analytical lens is illustrated by applying it to the case study of recent Vietnamese migration to, and in, the UK.


IRiS WP 49-2022.pdf

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