Nottingham University Business School
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Gabriella Cioce

BA in History, Tradition and Innovation (University of Siena, Italy); MA in Anthropology and Languages of Images (University of Siena, Italy).

Room: B34 (South Building)
Tel: +44 (0) 115 8466378

Current Status: Completed
Year of Registration: 2016
Expected Completion Date: /09/2019

Primary Funding Source:
Vice Chancellor's Scholarship for Research Excellence (European Union); NUBS Scholarship

Research Topic:
Resistance, Solidarity, and Empowerment: an ethnographic study of Precarious Migrant Workers' Organising in the Italian logistics sector

Research Details:
Precarious migrant workers experience diverse forms of injustice at the workplace and beyond. Within Anglo-American Industrial Relations and sociology of work, most studies of the responses to such injustice have a union-centred approach. By contrast, this thesis adopts an actor-centred approach. It presents an 'extreme' case study which examines what happens when migrant workers' highly precarious conditions and identities meet union organising. An ethnography of 8 months was conducted in Italy, mainly in Bologna and Milan. Fieldwork started in 2017, including 43 semi-structured interviews, 31 conversations, 15 group interviews and participant observation at 120 events. These events involved protests, demonstrations, picket lines, strikes, helpdesks, assemblies, union meetings and negotiations, training, and educational sessions. Most of the research participants consisted of first-generation migrant workers (i.e. Africans, Latin Americans, and Eastern Europeans) employed as logistics workers and unionised with a social movement union named S.I. Cobas. Interviews were also conducted with native union militants, mainstream union officers, and activists. This study shows that precarious migrant workers frame informal cultures of resistance without union intervention. Yet, effective organising entails a deep and transformative process involving union practices that centre on actors' agency and subjectivities. This process occurs through a bottom-up articulation of mechanic and organic solidarity processes unfolding at different levels of union engagement. The empowerment that migrant workers achieve includes both material and subjective gains.

Research Supervisor/s: Marek Korczynski and Davide Pero

Department: Organisational Behaviour and Human Resource Management

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