Invisible capitalism: Political economy and the regulation of undocumented immigration in France

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50 Scopus citations

Abstract

What explains the French government's unwillingness to accept more legal immigrants or at least ignore those who enter or over-stay clandestinely? This paper answers this question by exploring the political economy and regulation of undocumented immigration in France during the 1990s. In light of a broad liberal and Marxist literature on the political economy of immigration, I argue that three 'proximate determinants' shape the regulation of undocumented immigration in France (a 'Europeanized' security agenda, 'self-limited sovereignty' and control of the labour market, especially informal employment). However, these proximate determinants do not necessarily excavate the social relations of power (that is political economy) which constitute the basis for policy making. I argue then that a return to the importance of the labour market (and thus the class and racial constitution of French society) is essential, but without a simple return to Marxist political economy. Instead, I suggest the value of 'virtualism' for carving out a new post-structuralist/'postmodern' political economy of immigration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-583
Number of pages29
JournalEconomy and Society
Volume32
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2003

Keywords

  • France
  • Illegal
  • Immigration
  • Informal
  • Migration
  • Undocumented

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Social Sciences (all)

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