Migrant farmworkers in Southern Italy: ghettoes, caporalato and collective action


1 July 2014


Volume 1 – Number 5

How to cite

Domenico Perrotta and Devi Sacchetto



This paper focuses on migrant workers in Southern Italian agriculture. After a brief description of the general background, an analysis will be given of two themes: the state of seclusion and segregation in which the workers live; and the organization of recruitment and the labour process through the caporalato, an illegal and widespread farm labour gang-master system. Two case-studies will be compared: the “ghetto” of Boreano (in Basilicata region), which exemplifies the central role of seclusion and caporalato in the productive process of Southern Italy’s agriculture; and the experience of “Masseria Boncuri” in Nardò (Apulia), where thanks to a strike thatinvolved several hundred African farmworkers in August 2011, thecondition of seclusion were broken. The analysis is based on material collected during qualitative research, in particular in-depth interviews and ethnographic observations of the houses, the labour process, and the struggles of foreign labourers conducted from 2010 to 2013.


Migrant farmworkers, Southern Italy, Seclusion and caporalato, Strike