“Quando si raccoglie il pomodoro è una guerra”. Resistenze e conflitti dei braccianti migranti nei territori del pomodoro/“Tomato harvest is a war”. Resistances and conflicts of migrant farmworkers in the tomato-producing regions in Southern Italy

Domenico Perrotta


This article aims at analysing the forms of resistance of tomato harvesters of Sub-Saharan African origin in Southern Italy. Such forms of resistance are diverse and multifaceted: implicit and explicit, covert and overt, individual and collective; they are directed against employers and labour brokers, in the workplaces as well as in the “ghettos” in which seasonal farmworkers live, and aim at improving labourers’ dramatic living and working conditions. After a description of the economic and social context of the field study, the article proposes a phenomenology of such resistances: forms of mobility, escape and dissimulation; workplace conflicts and negotiations; conflicts concerning the management of the local farm labour market by the brokers known as “caporali”; strikes, such as the one in Nardò in the summer 2011; forms of mutualism, such as the participation in migrants’ associations and/or in workers’ cooperatives and projects of solidarity agriculture. The article is based upon participant observation and in-depth interviews collected between 2010 and 2015 in the regions of Puglia and Basilicata.

Ethnography; Southern Italy; Mutualism; Escape; Dissimulation; Caporalato.

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