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Unauthorized migrant workers as precarious subject in Japan

Conference Paper


Abstract


  • This paper seeks to press forward two interrelated arguments about the practices of producing and contesting precariousness, specifically focusing on unauthorized migrant workers in Japan. First, it is argued, following Bridget Anderson, that immigration controls, which regulate the transnational inflows of workers and define the conditions under which their entry is authorized or denied, help to fashion precarious labour in ways that respond to capital’s demand for greater labour market flexibility through the “construction of institutionalized uncertainty”. The second argument is that unauthorized migrant workers, who may be portrayed as being at the forefront of precariousness due to their extremely uncertain, insecure, and unstable conditions fundamentally attributable to their status of “illegality” in Japan, are not simply powerless victims but rather are political actors who contest and negotiate such conditions even at the most subaltern level. In developing these arguments, this paper attempts to contribute to a broader International Political Economy (IPE) literature by shedding light on power dynamics that are producing, reinforcing and/or challenging the augmentation and diversification of precarious workers within the neoliberal restructuring of the global political economy.

Publication Date


  • 2015

Citation


  • Onuki, H. (2015). Unauthorized migrant workers as precarious subject in Japan. Conference of the Japanese Studies Association of Australia (pp. 35-36). Melbourne: La Trobe University.

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/2252

Start Page


  • 35

End Page


  • 36

Place Of Publication


  • Melbourne

Abstract


  • This paper seeks to press forward two interrelated arguments about the practices of producing and contesting precariousness, specifically focusing on unauthorized migrant workers in Japan. First, it is argued, following Bridget Anderson, that immigration controls, which regulate the transnational inflows of workers and define the conditions under which their entry is authorized or denied, help to fashion precarious labour in ways that respond to capital’s demand for greater labour market flexibility through the “construction of institutionalized uncertainty”. The second argument is that unauthorized migrant workers, who may be portrayed as being at the forefront of precariousness due to their extremely uncertain, insecure, and unstable conditions fundamentally attributable to their status of “illegality” in Japan, are not simply powerless victims but rather are political actors who contest and negotiate such conditions even at the most subaltern level. In developing these arguments, this paper attempts to contribute to a broader International Political Economy (IPE) literature by shedding light on power dynamics that are producing, reinforcing and/or challenging the augmentation and diversification of precarious workers within the neoliberal restructuring of the global political economy.

Publication Date


  • 2015

Citation


  • Onuki, H. (2015). Unauthorized migrant workers as precarious subject in Japan. Conference of the Japanese Studies Association of Australia (pp. 35-36). Melbourne: La Trobe University.

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/2252

Start Page


  • 35

End Page


  • 36

Place Of Publication


  • Melbourne