'Structured coherence': Immigration, racism and production in the Paris Car Industry

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23 Scopus citations


Using a case study of North African immigrant labour in the Paris car industry, this paper explores the relationship between the 'structured coherence' of the Paris region, and the transition to 'Toyotaism' within four large final assembly plants. I argue first that organizational and technical change does not simply translate into a form of employment decline, as other processes of labour segmentation are at work. Management in all three firms shifted between the use of young French workers and immigrants to match both the technical requirements of Toyotaism and to achieve control and docility (thus improving productivity and quality) within the factories. Second, I argue that the coherence of the Paris region as a region of final assembly has rested upon the centralizing tendencies of JIT/kanban, and that North African immigrants 'suit' the firm's requirements for qualitative and quantitative flexibility. This has allowed simultaneously the adoption of Toyotaist principles in a way which might better be described as 'neo-Fordism'. Finally, I contend that the processes of segmentation along national lines which were apparent during the 'Fordist' era have persisted despite any large-scale transformation of the Paris plants. This suggests that we need to conceptualize the regulationist wage relation as racialized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-72
Number of pages24
JournalEuropean Planning Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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