Critical Enquiry at the Intersection of Politics, Policy and Society
Edited by Emma Carmel
Chapter 5: The political ordering of migrant workers through labour admission policies
This chapter discusses the value of governance analysis in comparative policy research, drawing on an empirical study of contemporary British, French and German labour admission policies. My evaluation highlights three key benefits of a governance analysis approach for explaining varieties across the three admission regimes. First, governance analysis helps in identifying the interactions between migrant classification processes and structurally entrenched institutional norms beyond mere complexity claims in cross-national comparison. Second, governance analysis is suitably sensitive to empirical specificity without compromising on analytical parsimony. This is particularly useful for ideographic comparative research with its aim of accounting for nuanced contextual variations. Third, governance analysis exposes the political ordering effects of public policy arrangements which assemble multiple institutionalized norms for, and processes of, migrant worker selection in specific and consequential ways. Overall, the analytical approach promoted in this volume seems well-prepared to explain the emergence of complex and deeply political variations of defining ‘legal’ migrant workers across countries.
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