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Thai local brokers in the Swedish berry industry: Roles and positions across time and space
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Over the last decade, each year 2500 - 6000 Thai go to Sweden to work as berry pickers during the berry season via a regulated system of temporary work permits. Bangkok-based staffing agencies rely on the networks of local brokers to recruit workers in Thailand’s more peripheral northeastern Isan region, as part of the larger migration industry in Thailand. During the berry season, these local brokers also travel to Sweden and are part of the division of labour. Next to picking berries, their jobs can be cook, camp leader, and driver. Key concerns raised in relation to this seasonal work are precarity and vulnerability to exploitation, resulting from to the need to pay high fees to staffing agencies and a piece-rate wage-system.

This thesis aims to analyze roles and positions across time and space of local Thai brokers. It does so by examining how they have come to occupy their current positions, and what their roles are in the recruitment process in Thailand and during the during the berry season in Sweden. Moreover, it investigates the interlinkages between these two roles, and how differences in remuneration and payments of fees shape precarity at the micro-scale.

Based on the analysis of semi-structured interviews conducted in the Kaeng Khro district in Thailand in March 2019, this study suggests that the local brokers are industry veterans. Moreover, is suggests a large degree of variation in size and scope of local brokerage. During the berry season in Sweden, the local brokers tend to occupy positions above the regular berry pickers. Moreover, it is suggested that there is a differentiated precarity within the group of brokers, resulting from differences in the payment of wages and the need to pay fees to staffing agencies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
migration, labour, broker, precarity, intermediaries, berry, industry, Thailand, Sweden, precarity, mobility, seasonal work, debt
National Category
Human Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-160800OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-160800DiVA, id: diva2:1329322
Educational program
Master's Program in Spatial Planning and Development
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-06-24 Created: 2019-06-24 Last updated: 2019-06-24Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
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