The GLARUS project theorizes the ways in which rural societies are transformed as result of large-scale labour immigration, predominantly in low-skilled, manual industries, and how the different parties in the rural societies (immigrants, hosting communities) experience these processes. A key dimension is to explore hypothesized rural/urban and rural/rural differences: In what ways is rural immigration a different phenomenon from its urban counterpart? Are there differences in how the labour immigration phenomenon unfolds in rural communities? What are the implications of the economic base, demographic structure, peripherality, and historical experiences of the receiving communities?
The conceptual approach draws on, seeks to cross-fertilize and moves beyond insights from three strands of literature: immigration theory, labour market theory and the rural studies tradition. Key concepts, theories and perspectives within these fields are transnationalism, segmented labour market theory, flexibilization and precarious work, and heterolocal identities, belongings and spaces.
The project is genuinely comparative in its approach; nationally and internationally, to order to identify both generic aspects of rural labour migration, and to gain an understanding of how various contextual aspects influence the unfolding of the phenomenon. In Norway three rural study areas with different economic bases (agriculture, fish processing, and tourism) will be studied and compared to study cases in the US and the UK. These study cases will be explored using an extensive mixed-methods methodological design combining various qualitative and quantitative techniques.
A key objective of the project is to develop a strong international research network on global rural labour. The project will recruit several young scholars and offer an extensive visiting scholar programme for early- and mid-career scientists.