1st Edition

Migration, Racism and Labor Exploitation in the World-System

Edited By Denis O'Hearn, Paul Ciccantell Copyright 2021
    226 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    226 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book offers a historically sweeping yet detailed view of world-systemic migration as a racialized process. Since the early expansion of the world-system, the movement of people has been its central process. Not only have managers of capital moved to direct profitable expansion; they have also forced, cajoled or encouraged workers to move in order to extract, grow, refi ne, manufacture and transport materials and commodities. The book offers historical cases that show that migration introduces and deepens racial dominance in all zones of the world-system. This often forces indigenous and imported slaves or bonded labor to extract, process and move raw materials. Yet it also often creates a contradiction between capital’s need to direct labor to where it enables profitability, and the desires of large sections of dominant populations to keep subordinate people of color marginalized and separate. Case studies reveal how core states are concurrently users and blockers of migrant labor. Key examples are Mexican migrants in the United States, both historically and in contemporary society. The United States even promotes of an image of a society that welcomes the immigrant—while policy realities often quite different. Nonetheless, the volume ends with a vision of a future whereby communities from below, both activists and people simply following their communal interests, can come together to create a society that overcomes racism. Its final chapter is a hopeful call by Immanuel Wallerstein for people to make small changes that, together, can bring real about real, revolutionary change.


    Denis O'Hearn and Paul Ciccantell

    Part I. Long duree

    Immigration as racial dominance since 1492

    James Fenelon

    Migration, Resource Frontiers, and Extractive Peripheries: Toward a Typology
    Paul Ciccantell and Paul Gellert

    Operationalizing the resource frontier: Russian Fur Hunting and Racialized Migration in the Aleutian Islands
    Denis O’Hearn

    Part II. Migration in the US

    The First Large Wave of Mexican Migration to the US: Rail Construction and Maintenance’s Contribution to World-System Development, 1890-1929

    Michael Calderon-Zaks


    The Deportability Regime: From Bad to Worse in Central Texas under Obama and Trump

    Nancy Plankey-Videla

    Heritage, Belonging, and Active Citizenship in the United States: a Role Model for the EU?

    Eric Mielants


    Part III. World migrations today

    Partition-Induced Migrations: How Migration Has (Re)shaped Social and Political Identities in Divided States

    Robert Schaeffer

    A Search for Post-Nationalist Imaginaries in 'Bengal': Exploring Ecoethnoscapes (Bioregions with Permeable Boundaries)

    Devparna Roy

    Labor migration, agrarian crises and livelihood transformations in the making of a world city: Bangalore in critical perspective
    Vandana Swami

    "Going Home is not an Option:" Filipino Domestic Workers in the Middle East

    Walden Bello

    Part IV. Conclusion – the way ahead

    Migrations and Their Politics

    Immanuel Wallerstein


    Denis O’Hearn is Dean of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at El Paso. Several of his books have received major national and international awards, including his most recent book, Living at the Edges of Capitalism: Adventures in Exile and Mutual Aid (University of California Press, with Andrej Grubacic). He lived for many years in Belfast, Ireland, and his seminal biography of the Irish hunger striker Bobby Sands, Nothing but an Unfinished Song: the Irish Hunger Striker Who Shook the World, is published in many languages, including Kurdish and Basque.

    Paul S. Ciccantell is Professor of Sociology at Western Michigan University and a former program officer for the Sociology Program at the National Science Foundation. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research examines socioeconomic change over the long term, the evolution of global industries and the socioeconomic and environmental impacts of global industries, focusing particularly on raw materials extraction and processing and transport industries. He has published books with Johns Hopkins University Press, JAI/Elsevier Press and Greenwood Press, and more than thirty journal articles and book chapters.