Room for Manoeuvre: Rethinking the Intersections Between Migration and the Informal Economy in Post-Industrial Economies

M. Anne Visser and Luis E. Guarnizo
Published in
Population, Space and Place - Wiley Online Library, 2017

Dominant scholarly and policy discourse implicitly connect growth in immigration to growth in the informal economy and negative socio-economic outcomes in post-industrial societies. In this introduction, we highlight some of the broader questions and implications raised by the multidisciplinary work of our contributors that challenge this immigration-informality hypothesis.

We argue that existing studies of the informal economy in post-industrial societies underscore the multiscalar economic, social, and political facets and dimensions that shape the intersection between migration and the spread of informal economic practices in the global north. However, this body of work does not adequately connect the ways in which these processes influence immigrants' economic and labour market integration. The contributions to this special issue focus on these dimensions seeking to identify how they are constructed and the opportunities, challenges, and possibilities they present for migrant workers and migrant-receiving societies.

Collectively, the contributions challenge dominant narratives surrounding the relationship between migration and the informal economy and contribute to theorise them as co-constituted at multiscalar relational processes.