Chapter 20: Making a living while on the move: migrant trajectories, hierarchized mobilities and local labour landscapes in Central America
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Based on the understanding that migrant trajectories involve multiple journeys, places and survival strategies, this chapter takes a closer look at the ways in which those considered to be still on the move make a living, locally. More specifically, it interrogates how their labour becomes a way to differentiate between migrants, maintain local order and foment migration flows. The chapter builds on migrant labour and transit migration literatures to engage with the question of temporal insertion into local labour landscapes. Drawing on research with Cuban, Ghanaian and Haitian migrants ‘in transit’ in Costa Rica, the chapter shows how formal permission to work is not the primary way in which these migrants become differentiated and disciplined. Rather, the extent to which they upset the local social order through their labour, as a racialized and exploitable presence, becomes the basis for differentiation and disciplining, and ultimately, for their ability to move onward.

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