This paper explores the roles, disputes and strategies of four Italian trade unions in Capitanata (Apulia region) regarding the struggles to improve conditions for migrant farmworkers in the area. Detaching from previous academic trends, this dissertation focuses on local actors' actions, identifying the major differences when it comes to labour rights, living conditions and legal status of migrant farmworkers. Building upon some contributions regarding race and working class, the paper engages in a dialectic between black struggles and white claims, investigating if and how labour unions reproduce the hierarchical power structure inherent in the concept of whiteness. In the analysis, the fragmentation of unions' actions is displayed, and it is argued that the embeddedness of unions in broader structures of power stimulates the reproduction of extractive dynamics that might depower the strength of their efforts.

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Rogier van Reekum, Freek de Haan
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Stefanelli, M. (2022, August 2). Black struggles, white claims: on the controversies of Italian labour unions regarding migrant agricultural workers in Capitanata.. Sociology. Retrieved from