Labour control and the labour question in commodity chains: exploitation and disciplining in Senegalese export horticulture.
(Queen Mary University of London)
Paper short abstract:
This article examines the historical evolution of local labour control regimes upstream the Senegalese-European horticultural commodity chain. It shows that labour control emerges from the combined pressures of foreign firms, international institutions, the state, and households.
Paper long abstract:
This article engages with the GVC/GPN literature, labour process analysis, and agrarian political economy to analyse labour control in the Senegalese-European horticultural commodity chain. It examines the historical evolution of local labour control regimes in the Senegalese countryside as mechanisms organising production and regulating the labour process within local farms, and resulting from the combined pressures emanating at the local, national, and global scales. Labour control is further conceptualised through the interplay of labour exploitation (the production of value in excess of labour remuneration) and labour disciplining (the mechanisms of containment and prevention of labour resistance, i.e. the constant subordination of labour to the labour process). The drivers for labour control span the boundaries of local farms as the concrete architectures of LLCR result from the combined pressures of foreign firms, international institutions, the state, and households. The pervasive influence of the state links labour control within farms to a broader 'labour question'. The contradictory need to control labour drives firms' pressures to internalise and externalise labour control as farms periodically shift between, or combine, estate farming (direct production) and contract farming (outsourcing). Underpinning these shifts is the broad disciplining of labour, both social (articulated through gender relations and paternalism) and spatial (splintering of the labour force through outsourcing).
Global production networks and the politics and policies of development