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On waiting, work-time and imagined futures: Theorizing temporal precariousness among Chinese chefs in Sweden’s restaurant industry
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Human Geography.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Human Geography.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Human Geography.
2017 (English)In: Geoforum, ISSN 0016-7185, E-ISSN 1872-9398, Vol. 78, 169-178 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper explores the precarious working conditions in the Chinese restaurant industry in Sweden – a country considered to have one of Europe’s most liberal labour immigration policies. Drawing upon a theoretical framework inspired by scholarship on precarious work and time geography, the paper argues that precarious work performed by migrant labour can be usefully understood through three interrelated temporal processes that, when they work together, produce and maintain precarious work-life situations. They are: (1) work-time arrangements: that is, actual working hours per day and over the annual cycle, the pace and intensity of work and the flexibility demanded of migrant workers in terms of when work is carried out, (2) the spatio-temporal ‘waiting zones’ indirectly produced by immigration policies that delay full access to labour markets and in which precarious work-time arrangements consequently arise, and (3) migrant workers’ imagined futures, which motivate them to accept precarious work-time arrangements during a transitory period. The paper thus also illuminates that the Chinese chefs in Sweden’s restaurant industry are not just passive victims of exploitative work-time arrangements. Rather, waiting – for a return to China or settlement in Sweden – may be part of migrants’ strategies to achieve certain life course trajectories. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 78, 169-178 p.
Keyword [en]
Sweden, Chinese migrant workers’ strategies, liberal migration policies, migration status, permanent residence, precarious working conditions, temporalities
National Category
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-124567DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2015.12.007ISI: 000392684700018OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-124567DiVA: diva2:890169
Available from: 2015-12-31 Created: 2015-12-29 Last updated: 2017-12-01Bibliographically approved

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Axelsson, LinnMalmberg, BoZhang, Qian
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