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Precarious LivesForced labour, exploitation and asylum$
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Hannah Lewis, Peter Dwyer, Stuart Hodkinson, and Louise Waite

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781447306900

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447306900.001.0001

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The struggle to exit exploitation

The struggle to exit exploitation

(p.111) 5 The struggle to exit exploitation
Precarious Lives

Hannah Lewis

Peter Dwyer

Stuart Hodkinson

Louise Waite

Policy Press

Although the closing down of space for negotiation of work conditions is common to all the labouring situations outlined in Chapters 3 and 4, in Chapter 5 we turn our attention to the ways that workers did resist poor treatment within such unfree labouring environments. Through a presentation of a more agentic picture of forced migrants’ lives – that of the ‘migrant project’ – it describes how workers negotiated, resisted and rejected their exploitation within unfree labour situations, including examples of nascent solidarity in hidden spaces that allowed for informal and fleeting forms of effective organising. We explore how workers exited from unfree labour situations, drawing a distinction between those who ‘ran away’ or escaped from coerced-confined forced labour, workers who ‘walked away’ or changed jobs, and those who were ‘pushed away’ through the job ending or dismissal from insecure work. The final part of this chapter explores the idea of a continuum of unfreedom and its resonance for discussions of hyper-precarity in Chapter 6.

Keywords:   resistance, organising, forced labour

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