A Complex Work of Migration: Knowing, Working and Migrating in the Southwest of England
Vasey, David Huw
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This is a thesis about knowing, working and migrating in a complex and fluid world. Through an analysis of biographic-narrative interviews with migrants working in ‘knowledge intensive’ roles, as well as with those employed in jobs normally considered ‘low-skilled’, arguments about knowing, working and migrating in the ‘new knowledge economy’ are developed. Foregrounding an active and embodied understanding of knowing as a socially embedded and fluid phenomenon allows for a reconceptualisation of the relationships between knowing, migrating and working, raising questions about our normative understandings of both the ‘knowledge’ economy and divisions of migrant labour. This thesis seeks to illustrate how everyday practice and the interaction of complex (and often competing) ‘forces’ have acted to produce powerful ideas about what kind of jobs are suitable for which types of migrants, and how these ideas become accepted as normal – as ‘common sense’ assumptions. Furthermore, such productions of knowledge about migrants, also impacts on how, what and where we know. That is, the processes and performances of knowing are both constitutive of, and constituted by, the structures of power which shape our lives. Thus the ‘power to know’ is contextual, fluid and yet fundamental to the constitution of our everyday lives.
Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)
South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA)
Williams, Allan M.
PhD in Geography