The Fixation of Manpower in Spain through Immigration Laws

By Olga Achón Rodríguez.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies

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This paper treats the problem of the fixation of foreign labor in Spain. We track different strategies aimed to fixate workers in several historical periods, which makes our contribution basically theoretical, although it is a theorization that emerged in the context of an empirical work. Our methodology is, therefore, comparative, confronting legal texts from the past (s. XIV century onwards) and those that in the present fulfill an analogous function, that is to say: to implement policies that ascribe workers to specific areas of production, mainly agriculture. Our main sources correspond, therefore, to legal historiography concerning the problem of vagrancy and poor laws. The main conclusion at which we arrive is that all the compared systems create different legal statuses to forcedly fixate labor in a tighter or looser way. For instance, the limitations of economic activity and geographical area that modern immigration authorizations include—and that define the legal status of foreign workers—find a certain correspondence with the prohibitions of mobility for men in Castile and England in the XIV century also as the control of their wandering through parishes and settlement acts. Modern limitations, as the old vagrancy and poor laws, affect rights nowadays considered fundamental for man.

Keywords: Immigration Laws, Vagrancy Laws, Manpower Fixation

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp.29-36. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 166.576KB).

Dr. Olga Achón Rodríguez

Researcher, Grup de Recerca sobre Exclusió i Control Socials (Research Group on Social Exclusion and Social Control), Universitat de Barcelona, Lleida, Catalunya, Spain

Born in 1974 at Lleida (Spain), she starts her academic career studying a Diploma in Social Education at the University of Lleida, which allowed her to continue her studies at the University of Barcelona, were she got her degree in Anthropology. Interested in researching on international migrations, she follows her studies at this last University, where she gets her Doctorate in Anthropology. With a keen interest in analyzing the events occurring in her birth place, Lleida, were agro-industrial development led to the arrival of migrant labor force, she focused both of her research works, her dissertation and her doctoral thesis, on the matter. Her first research work treats access to housing for sub-Saharan and Maghreb migrants in the towns of this province and the consequences derived from it. Her doctoral thesis analyses the recruitment and import of labor force from third world countries through a system designed by the Catalonian agricultural union Unió de Pagesos and the effects that it manifests in the fundamental rights of the workers. In both, a critical perspective is taken to analyze regulations that permits overcrowding and the rise of a system of “just in time” deliver of labor, through the concentration of foreign workers in lodgments, as she also takes a critical perspective towards the institutions that benefit from the intensive use of migrant labor. She is a member of the Research Group on Social Exclusion and Social Control(Grup de Recerca sobre Exclusió i Control Socials) of the University of Barcelona. She starts her first publications with an article on housing and migration, main theme of her dissertation, and with the placing of her doctoral thesis in the digital platform of the University of Barcelona. She also has in press an article on recruitment and import of migrant labor in Spain in a collective work published by Comares publishing.