Labour Contracting Systems and African Migrant Networks in Foggia, Apulia, Southern Italy

Emilia Helen Melossi


This study is based on personal experiences and impressions gathered over the course of three consecutive summers while volunteering for a number of organizations in two different regions in Southern Italy: Castel Volturno (Campania) and Foggia (Puglia). The analysis focuses on the Italian labour contracting system known as “caporalato”, its historical presence in the agricultural sector in Southern Italy and recent resurfacings of the system tied to the availability of African migrant labour. The study, based on direct volunteer fieldwork experience, attempts to identify the nexus between the emergence of African migrant networks alongside the exploitative labour contracting system and the manner in which the two are linked. Furthermore, the study considers the role of Radio Ghetto, operating in the shantytown of Borgo Mezzanone (Foggia) in the summer of 2017, as an example of resistance.

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