ArticlePDF Available

Abstract

In this article, we analyse the ideological content of the discursive strategies used by a group of migrant workers subjected to “Caporalato”, a form of illegal hiring and exploitation of farm day workers through an intermediary. Starting from a series of collective open interviews with farm workers, we examine the way in which both dynamics of exploitation and resistance are reproduced through linguistic and discursive practices. What emerges from the analysis is a complex set of ambivalent experiences and representations. Despite its inherent exploitative and controlling nature, the workers tend also to justify, legitimize and deny the negative aspects of Caporalato. Nonetheless, they also use linguistic devices of resistance to reconfigure the meanings of, and their role in, Caporalato. Interestingly, the analyses show that Caporalato is also perceived as a mechanisms of social mobility. Only limited attempts of calling explicitly into question its criminal nature are strategically expressed.
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
Dr. Fabio I. M. Poppi
Institute of English and American Studies
University of Gdańsk
ul. Wita Stwosza 51
80-308 !
Gdańsk
Poland
fabioimpoppi@me.com
Dr. Giovanni A. Travaglino
School of Humanities and Social Science
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
2001 Longxiang Boulevard, Longgang District
518172.
Shenzhen
China
Centre for the Study of Group Processes, School of Psychology
University of Kent
CT2 7NP
Canterbury
United Kingdom
GATravaglino@cuhk.edu.cn
!
! 1
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
Parea non servin : Strategies of exploitation and resistance in
1
the Caporalato discourse.
Abstract
In this article, we analyse the ideological content of the discursive strategies used by a group of migrant
workers subjected to “Caporalato”, a form of illegal hiring and exploitation of farm day workers through an
intermediary. Starting from a series of collective open interviews with farm workers, we examine the way in
which both dynamics of exploitation and resistance are reproduced through linguistic and discursive
practices. What emerges from the analysis is a complex set of ambivalent experiences and representations.
Despite its inherent exploitative and controlling nature, the workers tend also to justify, legitimize and deny
the negative aspects of Caporalato. Nonetheless, they also use linguistic devices of resistance to reconfigure
the meanings of, and their role in, Caporalato. Interestingly, the analyses show that Caporalato is also
perceived as a mechanisms of social mobility. Only limited attempts of calling explicitly into question its
criminal nature are strategically expressed.
Keywords:
Caporalato; Discursive strategy; Exploitation; Gangmaster system; Interviews; Resistance
Latin: “I obey but not as a slave”
1
! 2
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
1. Introduction
Linguistic and discursive practices are powerful tools for understanding society and the dynamics of
power and resistance that shape social organization (see van Dijk, 2008). Such dynamics can take
different forms and have a profound impact across several different domains. It is therefore crucial
for discourse studies to explore and analyze them in contexts that have yet to receive much attention
from researchers.
One such a context is Caporalato. Caporalato is broadly defined as as an illegal and
exploitative form of mediation and labour organization. This practice is typical of Mediterranean
societies and it has been examined particularly in the Italian and Spanish contexts, but it also plays
a key role in contexts where the prevalent agricultural economy is based on large estates (e.g.,
California; United Kingdom) shaping the organization of the labour relationships (see Krissman
2005; Perrotta, 2015; Rogaly, 2008). Thus, Caporalato provides a unique opportunity to examine
and analyze the dynamics of exploitation and resistance in the highly relevant social situation of
migrations and work relations. In this article, we investigate how workers exploited by Caporalato
(i) make sense of the inherently exploitative nature of the system, and (ii) whether and how they
react to Caporalato through resistance and social engagement. We do so by examining workers’
discursive strategies, forms of discursive manipulation of reality enacted by social actors in order to
achieve a certain goal and, potentially, changes with significant social and material consequences.
In this article we provide an overview of some of the approaches to the study of the
Caporalato and of the discursive strategies, focussing specifically on how the concepts of
exploitation and resistance can be understood (section 2). We then illustrate the methodological
approach and the data used in this article. We also describe the social context where the
interviewees live (section 3). Section 4 describes the analysis of the interviews. In this section, we
contribute to previous literature by suggesting a distinction between different forms of exploitation
! 3
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
and resistance strategies. In the last section, we discuss the findings and draw conclusions to better
understand the practice of the Caporalato.
2. Theoretical framework
Caporalato — roughly translated into English as a gangmaster system — is a form of illegal
hiring and exploitation of farm day workers through an intermediary and a key concept to
understanding the labour market and power relations in the Italian agricultural labour system . The
2
word Caporalato comes from the Latin word caporalis, a derivative of caput, “boss”, and is used as
extension of abrupt and imperative manners produced by an authoritarian figure (Treccani) .
3
Caporalato is a system based on outsourcing the employment of farm workers to illegal
intermediaries (Caporali ) who can easily and quickly find disciplined and cheap workers to satisfy
4
employers’ demands (Perrotta, 2014). As claimed by Pugliese (2015), the phenomena of Caporalato
and of illegally hired migrants fit the context of a system of agricultural production and distribution
often called the “Californian model” (see also Krissman 2005; Perrotta, 2015). This system is based
on the idea of ‘cheap food for cheap labour’ obtained through the exploitation of ‘disposable’
people (Bales, 2000; Berlan, 2002; Cristaldi, 2014; Garrapa, 2016), and it is widespread not only in
Italy but also throughout the Mediterranean area (Michalon and Morice, 2008). As suggested by
authors such as Avallone (2017) and Corrado (2017), Caporalato - in the sense of system of
exploitation - is the ineluctable result of a structural lack of efficiency and planning in the laws
concerning the recruitment of workers. In the Italian context, similarly to other countries where
agriculture is based on large estates, there are no well-defined and practical labour policies able to
support seasonal workers and to provide them with relevant services such as accommodation and
For a discussion regarding the legal aspects of Caporalato, see Piva (2017).
2
http://www.treccani.it/vocabolario/caporale/
3
It should be noted that in Italian “Caporali” is the plural form of “Caporale”, i.e. one intermediary.
4
! 4
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
transport. Thus, Caporalato occupies an organizational and legislative vacuum contributing to the
‘illegality’ and exclusion of migrant workers.
As investments into technical innovation are very limited, landowners profit from lowering
the wages of the pickers and from increasing their work schedule, violating the national and
international labour laws (Oliveri, 2012). As claimed by Corrado (2017: 6), the Caporalato
represents the only available solution for small and medium farmers and food processors because of
“the inefficiency of the supply chain organization, pressure by retailers, and lack of investment in
the mechanization of harvesting operations”. In such a context, Caporali manage several activities,
including transporting migrants to the fields and organizing the production and payment of farm
workers. To ‘offer’ these ‘services’, Caporali take portions of workers’ salaries (see Corrado, de
Castro and Perrotta, 2016).
Caporali are social and political figures mediating between farm workers looking for a job,
and employers looking for for cheap and disciplined workers (see Corrado, 2011; Avallone, 2014).
Farm workers are often are under pressure due to restrictive migration laws and the weakness of
public employment services. Importantly, whereas their relationship with farmers is stable,
Caporali’s relationship with farmworkers is characterized by contradictions. On the one hand,
Caporali sell a resource to workers that they do not have, privatizing the labour market and
exploiting them (see Corrado, de Castro and Perrotta, 2016). On the other, they enable workers to
access work they could not autonomously access, thus creating an ambivalent feeling of gratitude.
Although there are previous studies analyzing the phenomenon of Caporalato from the
perspective of the workers (e.g. with the use of interviews; see Leogrande, 2008; Perrotta, 2015),
what remains to be examined from a linguistic point of view is workers’ processes of self-
definition, as well as their definition of the situation. In this article, we aim to investigate how
workers subjected to Caporalato (i) experience and make sense of the inherently exploitative nature
! 5
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
of the system, and (ii) whether and how they react to Caporalato through resistance and rebellion
against it. We do so by examining workers’ discursive practices.
In the context of discourse studies, the Caporalato phenomenon has been interpreted in
terms of “exploitation” and “modern slavery” discourses (see Davidson, 2010; Gray, 2002), as well
as a “resistance discourse” (Putnam, Grant, Michelson & Cutcher, 2005). Whereas the conditions of
exploitation and slavery are embedded within Caporalato itself , the dynamics of resistance can
5
assume at least two different forms. First, workers’ resistance has resulted in forms of social
mobilizations such as strikes and attempts of self-management (see Perrotta and Sacchetto, 2012;
2014). Second, other forms of protests have been described in terms of symbolic reinterpretation of
Caporalato. Thus, the discourse around the practice of Caporalato does not automatically imply an
acceptation of the system but may contain important aspirations for the improvement of one’s own
personal conditions and status in society.
Caporali are often formerly exploited workers that have ‘made career’ within the system.
Thus, the symbolic reinterpretation of Caporalato may consist of reconstructing the phenomenon as
a possible means of social mobility (Montagna, 2013; Avallone, 2014). As claimed by Bourdieu
(2002 [1977]: 179), a person’s role (also in marginalized contexts) mainly depends on their ability
to gain cultural power, that is their ability to gain and show their distinctness owing to the
accumulation of ‘a capital of honor and prestige’ (see Poppi and Castelli Gattinara, 2018). This
cultural power is created through symbolic practices for instance linguistically driven processes
of understanding the reality and self-definition since they enable an individual to communicate
about, and frame relationships through, the expression of values, ideas and attitudes, the
reinterpretation of past and current events, and the description of future scenarios. As argued by De
The extreme conditions to which migrants are subjected, including blackmail and violence, have also been analysed
5
in the context of the Ragusano area in Sicily by Palumbo and Sciurba (2015) and Corrado, de Castro and Perrotta
(2016). For journalistic reports on the situation, see also Lorenzo Tondo and Annie Kelly, “Raped, beaten, exploited: the
21st-century slavery propping up Sicilian farming”, The Guardian, 12 March 2017.
! 6
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
Fina (2008: 437) “[t]hrough the construction of positive images of themselves, social groups can
accumulate symbolic power and ultimately achieve changes in their position”.
One of the main difficulties with defining ‘discourse’ concerns the plurality of meanings this
practice can assume. In general terms, discourse can be reduced to a series of fundamental features,
including the fact that it refers to “linguistic units which generally exceed the limits of a single
sentence” (Thompson, 1988: 368), the characteristic of being identified in “in textual and verbal
communications and located in wider social structures” (Lupton, 1992: 145) and the capacity of
giving a “structure to the manner in which a particular topic, object, process is to be talked
about” (Kress, 1985: 7). Because of this complexity, the choice of the analytical methods to study
discourse should take into account not only what type of discourse one is dealing with, but also the
context where it develops.
As Caporalato may refer to the dynamics of simultaneously exploitation and resistance, it is
crucial to emphasize those processes that help to understand how such practices can be enacted and
reproduced through linguistic and discursive strategies. However, these practices cannot be reduced
to the mere combination of a plurality of statements that describe and explain the Caporalato
experience. It is instead important to identify and analyze particular linguistic processes that work
together to reveal patterns of representations that led to the formation of shared views (Kwon,
Clarke and Wodak, 2014). For this purpose, discursive strategies represent an ideal framework for
analyzing these aspects.
Generally discussed within organizational and communication context (see Klinke and
Renn, 2001; Marchetti, 1994; Poncini, 2007), discursive strategies are defined by Carvalho (2006:
3), as “forms of (discursive) manipulation of ‘reality’ by social actors in order to achieve a certain
goal”. Discursive strategies refers to the (more or less) intentional use of discursive processes that
are influenced by habitus and internalized dispositions (see Bourdieu, 1979). Following Reisigl and
Wodak (2001: 44-45), the essence of discursive strategies can be found in the aim of achieving a
! 7
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
particular social, political, contextual, psychological, or linguistic objective. The use of discursive
strategies is therefore a goal-directed behaviors used by the agent to leverage knowledge and
communicate persuasively (see Kwon, Clarke, & Wodak, 2014; Wodak, 2007). In this sense, the
impact of discursive strategies on social contexts depend on how people use them to enact a change
with significant social and material consequences (see Vaara and Tienari, 2008: 991). A discursive
strategy is, in this sense, a transformative discursive move involving the semantic re-definition of
an object (or an actor). The intervention and its aim can be more or less consciously pursued. In this
paper, we examine the discursive strategies that darkers express in relation to exploitation and
resistance.
Regarding exploitation, the strategies of justification, legitimization and denial are apt to
reflect the logic of acceptance and control that Caporalato conveys. Such strategies are especially
relevant in contexts where individuals or organizations engage in crimes or other types of
stigmatized actions (Poppi and Di Piazza, 2017; Poppi, Travaglino and Di Piazza, 2018; Poppi and
Campani, forthcoming). Specifically, justification strategies assert a connection between the agent
and a negative situation, but at the same time develop a frame through which delinquent and
transgressing actions are justified as being due to external factors or perpetrators’ attributes (see
Sykes and Matza, 1957). Conversely, legitimation strategies not only establish a connection
between the agent and the situation but also try to legitimate it by linking the situation to an
authority (i.e., tradition, custom), to the utility of institutionalized social actions or to a specific
value system (for an overview, see van Leeuwen and Wodak, 1999). Finally, as it has been shown in
analyses about corporate discourse (see Coombs, 2007: 171), denial strategies are strategies that try
to establish a certain frame in which the agent (i.e., an organization) tries to remove any connection
between itself and the situation (i.e., a crisis).
The theoretical distinction between justification, legitimation and denial strategies has
several different aspects, but one of the most important is that while denial and legitimation
! 8
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
strategies are usually related to organizations (e.g. multinational corporations), justification
strategies concern more explicitly the actions of isolated individuals (e.g., domestic violence,
bullying). Although these three discursive strategies often reflect and provide a frame for the role of
perpetrators, they can be also discussed in relation to the victims. As argued by Wetherell and
Potter (1993), the legitimation of exploitation may operate through strategies that reflect how the
victims invoke forms of self-blaming and acceptation for the exploitative situation (see also Berns,
2001).
Concerning resistance discourse and the dynamics of social mobilization and symbolic
reinterpretation mentioned earlier, in this article we focus on two main discursive strategies that we
label as struggle strategies and re-symbolization strategies. As claimed by Putnam, Grant,
Michelson and Cutcher (2005: 7-8), discourse analysis has yet to try to understand the resistance
dynamics rooted in labor processes (see also Mulholland, 2004). But how can resistance be defined
in the context of caporalato practices?
Individuals may express their dissent against the status quo in several different ways,
including direct mobilization or protest (Travaglino, 2017a). There are circumstances in which such
forms of direct engagement are unwarranted, dangerous or impossible. For instance, individuals
may not possess the necessary intellectual, social or material capital to engage in a social
movement. Factors such as large differences in power between dominant and subordinate groups, or
the (perceived or real) inability to express one’s political grievances may limit one’s capacity to take
part in the political process (Travaglino, 2017b). Such circumstances are present in the Caporalato,
given the strong inequality between dominant and subordinate groups, the hardships experienced by
exploited workers and the very low bargaining power those workers have.
Yet, this does not mean that individuals accept their marginalization passively. Instead, they
may engage in alternative forms of dissent, the most important of which concerns altering the
meanings of their disadvantage and their lower status (Leach & Livingstone, 2015). This form of
! 9
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
psychological resistance is extremely important because it enables individuals to put forward
systems of values and meanings alternative to those used by the dominant groups, build new
identities and ultimately achieve social change (Gramsci, 1971; Leach & Livingstone, 2015; Scott,
1990; Travaglino, 2017b).
Critical-cultural approaches have considered resistance as a process largely embedded in
historically based struggles, where the discursive practices of the subjects involved have received
far less attention compared to the those of the dominant groups (Jermier et al., 1994). However,
discourse plays a particularly important role in endowing situations, identities and contexts with
new meanings that promote and facilitate psychological resistance against dominant groups.
Here, we label as struggle strategies those attempts to question the way in which Caporalato
operates, and its the exploitative nature, indicating forms of struggles within routine labor activities.
Moreover, those discursive strategies that aim at reframing and reinterpreting the identity of the
workers, and their expressions of values, ideas and attitudes towards the Caporalato have been
labelled as re-symbolization strategies. Re-symbolization strategies may have the function of
reconciliation talk (Cameron, 2007), because they enable us to understand how groups and
individuals in contraposition perceive each other. Specifically, the use of these strategies indicate
the “re-negotiation of identities, the re-humanization of self and Other, and the development of
empathy between people who previously perceived each other as enemies” (Cameron, 2007: 198).
3. Methods
3.1. Participants
To understand the discursive dynamics related to the experience of Caporalato, we
interviewed simultaneously ten West African workers (6 males, 4 females) aged 22-34. We
conducted collective interviews in three different moments with a variable number of participants.
! 10
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
The participants for this study were selected with the help of volunteer workers’
associations in Italy. They were selected according to two criteria. First of all, we preferred to
interview participants who had a good command of Italian, in order to facilitate the interaction with
the researchers; second we interviewed only those participants who claimed to have had a direct and
prolonged experience of Caporalato (2 years minimum). The participants claimed to be from
Senegal (4), Nigeria (3), Ghana (2) and Liberia (1). At the time the interviews were held, the
participants were located in the CARA (‘Centro Accoglienza Richiedenti Asilo’ ‘Reception
center for asylum seekers’) in Borgo Mezzanone, a small village close to Foggia, in southern Italy .
6
The decision to use collective interviews was based both on practical and analytical reasons. Since
the criminal context in which the participants were subjected did not allow us to organize individual
interviews, we managed to set three different group interviews. This was the result of negotiation
between the participants and other agents (i.e., volunteer workers of the CARA) that allowed us to
organize the present study. Although the possible limitations of this method, collective interviews
have made possible to create an ideal context where discursive strategies, as expression of shared
views, could be easily identified and collected (see Kwon, Clarke and Wodak, 2014) .
7
3.2. Setting and procedure
The collective interviews were conducted in public spaces (e.g., squares, or public parks).
The three interview sessions lasted approximately 420 minutes in total and were organized around a
series of questions. Although it was made clear to the participants that they were free not to reply to
questions or to interrupt the interview at any time, none of the participants refused to answer. Each
participant received a small sum (5 euros) and a soft drink in return for their participation in the
study. Because some of the participants did not have residence permit to stay in Italy legally, we did
For a discussion regarding the role of the Caporalato in the area of Foggia, see Curci (2008).
6
For a justification of interviews in natural contexts see De Fina and Perrino (2011).
7
! 11
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
not ask them to reveal personal details (e.g., name, surname, occupation, etc), with the exception of
age and nationality.
We focussed on fragments that included explanatory and representational processes of
exploitation and resistance. The identification of discursive strategies was based on analyzing
responses produced through open collective interview questions (see Appendix). The answers were
audio-taped and transcribed verbatim. The interviews were then coded manually by the first author
and the second author reviewed the three interviews and the coding process. In the transcriptions,
the presence of overlapping voices is represented with the use of different bracket types (such as
round ( ), square [ ] and curly { } brackets) and the contribution of the researcher in italics in curly
brackets ({ }). Specific fragments were selected when they matched the discursive strategies
mentioned above. Only those extracts that were unanimously interpreted by the two authors as
matching these strategies were included in the analysis.
The interviews present a wide number of references to events and characters that may not be
familiar to the reader. Thus, we also provide a brief description of the contexts to understand the
setting in which the discursive strategies were enacted.
4. Analysis and results
8
4.1 Justification strategies
Extract 1:
“The people here are shit and the Caporale has to be like that, too (being like that’s
normal), because some people here is difficult (What do you mean, “the people are shit”;
The extracts are quoted verbatim in the same form as they occurred during the interviews. The translations are meant
8
to reflect the original in Italian, including their stylistic imperfections.
! 12
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
who are you talking about?) I mean the people is bad, they not good people (What, like
criminals?) People that was criminals before they arrive here and after, too.”
9
Justification strategies are generally used to explain the reasons behind a negative situation. In
Extract (1) the workers seem to condone the Caporali by emphasizing some alleged features of the
workers themselves. The Caporali’s exploitative behavior is connected to the wicked morality of
some workers, described as having a criminal background, in what seems to be a form of self-
blaming. Similarly, authors such as Soysal (1994) and Bhugra and Jones (2001) have discussed how
migrants in contexts of exploitation tend develop forms of self-blaming that affect the perception
and moral evaluation of their in-group. The exploitative and controlling nature of the Caporali is
justified in attempting to cope with “difficult people”. This is in line with psychological theories
suggesting that individuals have a set of assumptions and beliefs that characterize the world as a
just place in which people ‘get what they deserve and deserve what they get’ (Lerner, 1980). These
assumptions provide individuals with a sense of control and understanding of the world. Yet, they
also reduce the likelihood that individuals put the system into question.
Extract 2:
“Lot of us want to be the Caporale, because the Caporale has car, too (a car and a van), plus
he got good food (he got a good life and he can do anything he want), he does loads of
things and that not easy (he knows a lot of us want his job). [He got a good life and we
don’t, but it’s a hard thing to do and that why he’s the Caporale]”
10
Original transcription: “Qua c’è gente di merda e il Caporale deve anche essere persona così normale essere
9
persone così), perché alcuni di qua sono gente difficile. {Che intendi per “gente di merda”, di chi parli?} che sono
gente cattiva, gente non buono {come dei criminali?} (gente che era criminale prima di arrivare qua e anche dopo)”
Original transcription: “Molti di noi vogliono anche diventare Caporale, perché Caporale ha anche una macchina
10
(anche macchina e furgone), poi mangia bene (vive bene e fa tutte le cose), fa tutte un sacco di cose che non è facile
fare. (Lui sa che molti di noi vogliono prendere il posto di Caporale). [Quello fa una bella vita e noi no, ma quella è una
cosa difficile da fare e questo è perché lui è Caporale]”
! 13
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
Another justification strategy is represented in Extract (2) and reflects the challenging role of being
a Caporale. Within a practice of reframing, Caporali are described as people performing a very
difficult task and their life standards are somehow proportioned with their role. In this case, the
exploitative dynamics are considered as the result of expertise and competence that, as Extract (1)
suggests, also depends on the troubled people that are subjected to the Caporalato. The combination
between self-blaming and reframing contribute to relativize the figure of the Caporale and to shift
over a less negative interpretations of its role of exploiter.
4.2. Legitimation strategies
Extract 3:
“I know none of this right, but the Caporale has to do things right, he got to do things that
work, do everything properly (otherwise no-one know what’s going on]. (The Caporale
keeps order so the one with land can go and get other workers). [He has to do that]”
11
The first example of legitimation was in line with the use of higher term constructions such
as specific value systems. In Extract (3), the lack of justice that characterize Caporalato is
legitimized in the name of the need for “order” that such a system provides. Caporalato is (perhaps
idealistically) regarded as a way of making things work and its exploitative and controlling
dynamics are see as functional to it. Individuals involved in Caporalato perceive the system as
difficult and the Caporale’s perceived competence and ability to deal with the system becomes one
of the bases for their legitimacy.
Extract 4:
Original transcription: “Io so che tutto questo non è giusto, ma Caporale deve fare le cose ordinate e che
11
funzionano, fare tutto bene [Perché poi altrimenti non si capisce niente]. (Caporale tiene l’ordine ed così che quello che
ha la terra va a prendere altri lavoratori). [Lui deve fare così].”
! 14
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
“This illegal work in fields is shit (it’s a shit system, but) maybe that’s just how things
have to be. (If we say) If we get pay more the Caporale might (might find other people that
want less money). That how you work here.”
12
Beyond the order that it brings, Extract (4) shows that Caporalato is conceived as
ineluctable, a system that could not be different from the way it is. This example shows how often
legitimation is articulated in terms of customs and traditions, two constructions that are considered
as immutable and fixed. The fact that workers can hardly conceive of a different way of expressing
and representing their work relationships seems to be one of the most effective legitimization
strategies operating in this context.
Extract 5:
“(Even if it’s hard), [nothing easy in life, that’s how it is]. Everyone has a hard life, even the
Caporale has hard life because if he do something stupid they make someone else Caporale
[I seen loads of Caporali. Every so often one disappear and new one arrive in his place]. I
understand that.”
13
As the above example shows, Extract (5) justifies the Caporalato in terms of sort of
competition dynamics that occur among Caporali. Workers are aware of the fact that Caporali obey
to the logic of profit and productivity and their criminal behaviors are condoned as part of their
professional unsteadiness. Despite the way in which they wield power over the workers, Caporali
are justified because if they had a different attitude or different behaviors they would be substituted.
An interesting implication that emerges from this justification strategy is the understanding of
Caporali’s productivity in terms of exploitative and controlling behaviors.
Original transcription: “Caporalato è cosa di merda (è un sistema di merda, ma) ma forse cose non possono essere
12
diversi da così. (Se diciamo) Se noi veniamo pagati di più, è possibile che poi Caporale deve (deve trovare altre persone
che vogliono meno soldi). E’ così che si lavora qua.”
Original transaction: “(Anche se è difficile), [la vita niente è facile e così è]. Tutte vite sono difficili e anche la vita
13
da Caporale è difficile perché se poi fa cazzata viene cambiato con un altro Caporale. [Io ne ho visti tanti Caporali e se
ogni tanto uno sparisce uno nuovo arriva]. Io capisco questa cosa qua.”
! 15
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
Extract 6:
“We here to work and we know it’s illegal and against the law in Italy (this system?) Yes,
this system, but otherwise, how can you do anything else when everything illegal here?
(This thing’s important because if it isn’t, how can you understand?)”
14
Similarly to Extract (4), this example shows how legitimation often works in relation to
situations which can hardly be conceived in different ways. Workers know that Caporalato is an
illegal system for outsourcing employment, but they are also aware that if it did not exist, they
could not have any chance of finding a job. In this sense, Caporalato is legitimized because it is
regarded as the only way workers have to be employed.
Extract 7:
“We even against other workers here who want to do the same thing, and the Caporale is in
on it (is like me against you) and you can’t stop for a moment…(because otherwise you
out) (what does ‘you out’ mean?) (It mean another Caporale come along with other people
and you get sent away) (Who sends you away? The Caporale?) The one who got the
land.”
15
As Extract (7) shows, the logic of profit and productivity is also projected on the workers.
The conditions of exploitation and control that characterize Caporalato seem to be justified by the
ease with which the workers can be substituted with other workers. People subjected to the power
of the Caporali are willing to accept hard work conditions and poor pay because of the awareness
that other workers would otherwise take their jobs. The acquiescence to radical forms of profit and
productivity is one the key aspects that seems to justify the functioning of Caporalato.
Original transcription: “Noi siamo qua per lavorare e sappiamo che questo è illegale e contro la legge dell’Italia…
14
{questo sistema?} questo sistema, ma altrimenti come fai a fare cose diverse se qua tutto è illegale? (Questa cosa è
importante perché se no come fai a capire?)”
Original transcription: “Qua noi siamo contro anche altri lavoratori che vogliono fare la stessa cosa, e il Caporalato
15
è come essere in (come io contro di te) e tu non ti puoi fermare mai qua…(perché se no tu sei fuori) {cosa vuol dire
con“sei fuori?} (Vuol dire che poi arriva altro Caporale e porta altra persone e tu vieni mandato via) {da chi viene
mandato via il Caporale?} Da quello che comanda la terra”
! 16
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
4.3 Denial strategies
Extract 8:
“I work because I have to. Otherwise what I going to do? It’s not too bad here because I
know my family and my brothers is much worse off. This is my life and I not hurting
anyone.”
16
Denial strategies aim to remove any connection between the agent and the situation.
However, the oppressing nature of the Caporalato seem not to afford this opportunity. Yet, the
interviews reveal that the workers deny part of the connotations associated with their role. In
Extract (8), the workers deny some of the negative features of the Caporalato by claiming how
their families for instance live in worst conditions and how their work on the field does not
hurt anybody. While in contexts of exploitation, family is used as an element of threat and fear (see
Shelley, 2007), in the Caporalato discourse family is used as moral reference for embracing a
difficult life and the hard work duties. This form of reductionism and relativization helps the
workers to negate (at least partially) the exploitative and oppressing nature of the Caporalato.
Extract 9:
“I get pick up and take to the field. That’s how the day start. It’s hard and I don’t get much
money but that’s my job. (There’s nothing here, no water, it’s hot and really hard). I have
to keep my mouth shut and not make trouble but I’m not a slave [even if you think that we]
I’m a slave, I can’t be slave because a slave work for no money.”
17
Original transcription: “Io lavoro perché mi serve e se no che faccio? Io qua non sto male, perché so che mia
16
famiglia e miei fratelli stanno male anche (di più) molto male. Questo è mia vita e io non faccio male a nessuna
persona”
Original transcription: “Io vengo preso e portato al campo e così che la giornata comincia. E’ difficile e i soldi non
17
sono tanti, ma questo è solo il mio lavoro. (Manca tutto, manca l’acqua, fa caldo ed è tanto difficile). Io devo stare zitto
e non fare casino, ma io non sono un schiavo, [ma anche se tu pensi che noi] io sono uno schiavo, io non posso essere
schiavo perché schiavo è fare qualcosa senza soldi”
! 17
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
After attempting to deny some negative aspects of Caporalato, Extract (9) shows how
workers reject the exploitative and controlling nature of the Caporalato by denying it is slavery (“I
am not a slave”) and by attempting to normalize the practice (“this is only my job”). This extract
shows how the workers can admit the hard conditions which they suffer, but at the same time reject
with pride any interpretation that could affect their dignity.
4.4 Struggle strategies
Extract 10:
“Every now and then we steal some fruit or tomato and take it back to where we staying.
So even if we not got much money we got plenty to eat. That’s what we do (that’s what
you got to do because we’re the only ones in the fields)”
18
As we have discussed earlier, resistance strategies are attempts to put into question the
functioning of the Caporalato. In this regard, Extract (10) shows how the workers take advantage of
some flaws in the system of exploitation and control of Caporalato, stealing some of the products
that they are appointed to harvest. Although the loot has certainly a small economic value, it may be
construed as a form of rebellion against the poor salaries the workers receive (cf. Travaglino,
2017b). The migrants involved in the harvest see as justifiable to take away something for
themselves. This demonstrate that they are well aware of the unfairness of the conditions in which
they are asked to work.
Extract 11:
“Some people leave as soon as they can and try to get to France or some other place where
life is more easy and even if the Caporale don’t want them to (why doesn’t the Caporale
want them to?) Because he want to control the people who go to work for him. Then
Original transcription: Noi ogni tanto ci freghiamo frutta, pomodoro e portiamo tutto dove stiamo [a casa] Così
18
anche se soldi sono pochi mangiamo bene e così facciamo (e così che bisogna fare prendere perché sul campo ci stiamo
noi e basta).”
! 18
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
supposing someone was bad and go to the police? (so some people leave without say
nothing and try for a more good life )”
19
Another form of resistance strategy is represented by the prospect of escaping (exit). As
stated in Extract (11), workers oppose the control exercised by the Caporali by migrating towards
other places, where life is supposed to be easier (or by expressing the desire of migrating). In line
with this perspective, the idea of planning an escape — despite the power of the Caporali of
avoiding similar attempts — is one of the most common ways of evading dynamics of exploitation
and control. Similarly to other forms of resistance described here, (the dream of) escaping is not a
way to put into question the system, protest an unjust situation or seek social change. Yet it enables
migrants to signal their awareness of their dire conditions, and their aspiration to a better, perhaps
fairer life.
Extract 12
“People have try to go against the Caporale and the landowner but nothing ever come of it
because they afraid (they afraid because they might not get no more work)[I know that if
everyone that works the land stop picking the fruit and tomatoes everything will go wrong
and then people understand what we do here”
20
More in line with organized forms of dissent, Extract (12) shows how some workers are
aware of the fact that more structured and direct forms of struggle would have a positive effect
against the Caporalato. Here, the workers claim that a potential mass strike would make the system
collapse because it would block the entire chain of the harvest. A crucial aspect of this resistance
Original transcription: “Ci sono alcuni che appena possono vanno via e provano ad andare alla Francia o da
19
qualche altra parte dove la vita è più facile e anche se il Caporale non vuole {perché il Caporale non vuole?} [Perché lui
vuole tenere controllo e ordine su chi va a lavorare] e poi se qualcuno va alla Polizia se è stato male? (allora alcuni
vanno via senza dire niente e così provano a stare più bene di così)”
Original transcription: “E successo di provare ad andare contro il Caporale e quello che ha la terra, ma non è
20
successo mai niente perché uno ha paura (hanno paura perché poi non lavori) [io so che se tutti quelli che lavorano qua
la terra smettono di raccogliere la frutta e il pomodoro qua tutto si rompe e poi la gente capisce che cosa noi facciamo
noi]”
! 19
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
strategy seems to be the necessity of creating awareness among people. Awareness of injustice and
of individual's ability to effectively act against the status quo may play a key role in the formation
of new shared identities, and in the creation of an ‘us’ with shared goals and objectives. Those
identities may in turn facilitate mobilization and more overt forms of dissent (Thomas, Mavor,
McGarty, 2012).
4.5 Re-symbolization strategies
Extract 13:
“You eat fruit and tomatoes thanks to us. Otherwise, who harvest the crops and work the
land? (Italians can’t be racist because we the ones that work here and without my work you
don’t have anything to eat.”
21
While struggle strategies are used to put the Caporalato into question in terms of actions, re-
symbolization strategies enable processes of reconceptualization and meaning negotiation. Extract
(13) shows how the workers reaffirm their condition by claiming the importance of their work. In
this case, the subordination is reinterpreted to avoid the racism that the workers seem to experience.
According to recent studies, this discursive strategy can be interpreted as a concrete attempt of
putting into question the racial discrimination workers are subjected to, and to reposition the
workers more favorably in Italian society (see Fox, Moroşanu and Szilassy, 2015). The central idea
expressed in this extract is that the workers cannot be discriminated against because in spite of
the Caporalato — their role is fundamental for the existence of the food market.
Extract 14:
Original transcription: “Noi siamo quello che facciamo mangiare la frutta e il pomodoro a te, se no chi raccoglie e
21
lavora sulla terra? (Qua italiani non posso essere razzisti perché noi lavoriamo e senza del mio lavoro tu non mangi più
niente)”
! 20
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
“The Caporale is the one with power and money and you afraid of him (he’s important; I
wish I was the Caporale because it’s something really important. ) The Caporale is like
businessman, someone with money. I’d like to be Caporale [ it better like that!]”
22
In line with Extract (2), in this example it emerges a perspective of the Caporali as
positively connoted. Using a perspective of re-symbolization, the workers conceive the Caporali as
a figure they can aspire to become. This strategy helps to overcome the condition of exploitation
and control represented by the Caporali and to re-conceptualize them as something desirable and
positive. Interestingly, a conceptualization of the Caporali as business-oriented figure is also used in
academic contexts, as for instance Krissman (2005) and Perrotta (2014: 16) that refers to them as
“brokers”.
Extract 15:
“What we do in the fields is really hard and I sure a lot of Italians can’t do what we do (it’s
hot and it hurt your) (your back? Back here?) (everything, here too, your hands, your head,
it’s hot) we’re strong, I know that, you can’t complain about us if you can’t do what we do,
that’s right, no?”
23
Similarly to the example in (13) that presented a form of workers’ reaffirmation of their
dignity, the Extract (15) conceptualizes the workers as figures who give a vital contribution,
perhaps who are able to do something that Italian people cannot do. While in (13) the main goal
was to overcome racism, here the workers state how their contributions to the Italian society, is not
only fundamental but could not be replaced. Through this strategy, the workers symbolically
overturn their role as exploited and describe themselves in terms of better individuals.
Original transcription: “Caporale è uno che ha potere, soldi e che tu hai paura di lui (è una cosa importante e
22
magari io sono Caporale che è una cosa molto importante) Caporale è come businessman, una persona che ha soldi e
magari io faccio Caporale [molto meglio di così!]”
Original transcription: “Quello che facciamo al campo è molto difficile e sono sicuro che molti italiani non ce la
23
fanno a fare quello che noi facciamo (fa caldo e ti fai male al) {alla schiena? Qua dietro?} (tutto anche qua, le mani la
testa fa caldo) noi siamo forti e questo lo so [uno non si può lamentare di noi se poi non ce la fa a fare quello che
facciamo noi] è giusto no?”
! 21
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
5. Discussion and conclusions
In this contribution we have identified and analyzed the discursive strategies of exploitation
and resistance used by a group of migrant farm workers subjected to Caporalato. Caporalato is an
extremely exploitative practice due to the harsh work conditions, and control experienced by the
workers, as well as the poor pay. While strategies of justification, legitimation and denial are
generally explored from the point of view of the perpetrators of negative actions, we have here
interpreted these strategies as part of the linguistic and discursive practices that reproduce but also
contest the exploitative nature of the Caporalato.
As it emerges from the empirical analysis of the interviews, the workers seem to justify,
legitimate and deny some of the Caporalato most illegal aspects, employing beliefs such as self-
blaming (Extract 1), idealization (Extract 3), reductionism and relativization (Extract 8). Caporali’s
exploitative and controlling practices are construed as being the the only possible means for
regulating and managing this exploitative system. In the workers’ discourse, the workers’ and the
Caporalato’s moral dimensions are deliberately distorted. The workers are portrayed negatively so
that the Caporalato may be conceived as something different from slavery. The Caporale is
represented as a person who can deal with hard to manage workers, and give them the job
opportunity they could not otherwise have. In this sense, the Caporale is indeed a negative
character, but a character endowed with expertise and competence. The Caporale must affirm their
power within a professionally unsteady context based on profit and productivity.
Whereas the Caporale’s criminal actions are condoned as part of their professional
background, some strategies of resistance see the Caporale as an ideal figure to aspire to. Extracts
(2), (13) and (14) show that the Caporale is perceived as a successful person and this idealization is
part of re-symbolization that characterize the Caporalato system. Interestingly, workers’ negative
self-evaluation is referred only to their role within the caporalato system. Outside such role, their
! 22
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
self-evaluation becomes largely positive. The workers compare themselves with the local Italian
population, emphasize their good qualities as workers and place themselves at a higher level than
Italians, in terms of their physical resistance and moral ethos.
The discursive strategies used show how every aspect of the Caporalato system is subject to
two contrasting appraisals. For instance, the Italian context is directly responsible for the existence
of the Caporalato. Nonetheless, the workers who suffer from this system perceive the Italians as
inferior on some dimensions. Similarly, the portrayal of the Caporale oscillates between a figure of
exploitation and control, and an attractive role of power and economic success.
One of the reasons why the Caporalato system is represented with such contradictions may
depend on its inherent ambiguous nature. As it has been argued by other researchers (see Avallone,
2014; 2017; Perrotta, 2015), Caporalato is a criminal system to which is not offered any other
effective legal alternative. In the Italian context, for instance, land owners do not seem to have other
ways for employing labour forces. The lack of structural and organizational processes for
outsourcing labour makes Caporalato an effective (despite its exploitative nature) employment
system, the only system migrant workers can rely on (Garrapa, 2016; Leogrande, 2008; Perrotta,
2014). This feature of Caporalato, together with the lack of other concrete legal employment
opportunities, makes the Caporalato one of the few mechanisms of social mobility workers can use
to improve their position in society. The role of the Caporale — which often is a former farm
workers who achieved a position of power becomes then a concrete opportunity of social and
economical development.
Thus, the limited presence of struggle strategies in the interview may depend on the
symbolic and economic capital that the Caporale seems to hold. We have identified three discursive
strategies that attempt to put into question the Caporalato. Yet, only one sequence (Extract 12)
presents a concrete scenario of social mobilization. While Extract (11) and Extract (13) describe
! 23
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
two modalities of struggle that aim to exploit flaws in the control of workers, only Extract (12)
considers the idea of substituting the Caporalato.
The other discursive strategies of resistance employed by workers suggest that they are
engaged in redifying the meanings of their identity and worth in the context of an oppressive
system. These attempts of changing the meanings associated with oppression are nonetheless
important because they show how individuals may use different channels to make sense of, and
ultimately resist against a system who may be (objectively or subjectively) seen as ineluctable. In
circumstances in which direct engagement in protest is difficult, actions such as stealing fruits and
vegetables, prospecting the opportunity of exiting the system and redefining the physical and moral
qualities of the people involved may provide important psychological tools to create more cohesive
identities, thus providing the opportunity for social change.
Given the complexity of the topic, it is important to note some issues concerning the
methodology and the limitations of the study. Discursive strategies present a wide range of contents
and implications, and they are largely shared among workers. This is not in contrast with a view of
the Caporalato as a multidimensional phenomenon that triggers various and even contrasting
interpretations. Nonetheless, perspectives about Caporalato are remarkable similar within the group.
This is because while the Caporalato is characterized by multiple and contradictory symbolic
meanings, all the workers seem to agree about this ambivalence. At the base of the workers’
evaluations, there is the inherent violence that characterizes many Caporalato dynamics. As
Sandberg, Tutenges and Copes (2015: 4) discussed, for controversial issues such as the use of
violence or the representation of violent systems, the contrasting nature of the discursive processes
play a crucial role because it allows us to break ‘binary structural oppositions that implicitly operate
to quell the insistent ambiguity and openness of linguistic and cultural signification’. In line with
Frank (2010) and Polletta (2006), violent systems such as the Caporalato trigger dialogical process
that always consider multiple voices, the negotiation of point of views and are hence ambiguity.
! 24
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
One of the limitations of this contribution is that it deals with a reduced number of
participants. This work uses a qualitative in depth analysis analysis to reveal the structural
ambiguity of the Caporalato - which may be perceived at the same time as a phenomenon of
exploitation and of potential social and symbolic mobility. As we have discussed, workers are
subjected to such an invasive and oppressive reality that conducting more sophisticated analysis is
difficult. For instance, although we have tried to guarantee workers freedom of expression during
the interview and to protect them from potential external pressures, we cannot exclude that some of
the less negative interpretations about the Caporalato may have been affected by a kind of direct or
indirect concern towards their condition (e.g. the interviewers could have been seen as “friend/spy
of a caporale” and workers could have feared that the content of the study could be communicated
to the Caporale). We believe there is enough information in this study to avoid this interpretation.
Workers seemed to express themselves with genuine frankness and they seemed interested in
communicating their concerns about their conditions, as well as their aspirations and hopes. Future
research should devise alternative strategies to examine workers’ perception of and ideas about
Caporalato, perhaps using quantitative anonymous surveys or enabling workers to express their
ideas in more anonymized form.
! 25
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
Appendix
-How does the Caporalato work? !
(Come funziona il Caporalato?)
-What does the Caporalato mean to you? !
(Cosa rappresenta il Caporalato secondo te?)
-Who are the Caporali? !
(Chi sono i Caporali?)
-What is the Caporale, what does he do? !
(Che cos’è il Caporale, cosa fa?)
-Would you ever become a Caporale? !
(Diventeresti mai un Caporale?)
-What do you think about this area, Foggia and the Italians in general? !
(Cosa ne pensi di questa zona, di Foggia e degli Italiani in generale?)
-Cosa significa per te sfruttamento?!
(What does exploitation mean to to you?)
-Cosa significa per te resistenza?!
(What does resistance mean to you?)
! 26
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
Acknowledgements
The authors declare that the present research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or
financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
Notes on Contributors
Fabio I. M. Poppi is Assistant Professor in Linguistics at the University of Gdańsk. His research interests are in the
relationship between language, multimodal communication and social cognition in a variety of communicative contexts,
both face-to-face and computer-mediated. He has published several papers on metaphor in film and the arts, as well as
on ideology across discourse genres, addressing socially relevant issues (e.g. organized crime, political extremism).
Giovanni A. Travaglino is Assistant Professor in Applied Psychology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong,
Shenzhen and Lecturer in Social and Organizational Psychology at CSGP, School of Psychology, University of Kent.
His research focuses on resistance to criminal organizations, group processes and intergroup relations. He is co-editor
with Benjamin Abrams of Contention: The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest.
! 27
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
References
Avallone G (2014) Migraciones y agricultura en Europa del Sur: Emergencia de un nuevo
proletariado internacional. Migraciones internacionales 7(4): 137-169.
Avallone G (2017). Sfruttamento e resistenze. Migrazioni e agricoltura in Europa, Italia, Piana del
Sele. Verona: Ombre corte.
Bales K (2000) I nuovi schiavi: la merce umana nell'economia globale. Milano: Feltrinelli Editore.
Berlan JP (2002) La longue histoire du modèle californien. In Le gout amer de nos fruits et
légumes. L’exploitation des migrants dans l’agriculture intensive en Europe, (ed) Forum
Civique Européen. Informations et Commentaires: 15–22 .
Berns N (2001) Degendering the problem and gendering the blame: Political discourse on women
and violence. Gender & Society, 15(2): 262-281.
Bhugra D & Jones P (2001) Migration and mental illness. Advances in psychiatric treatment, 7(3):
216-222.
Bourdieu, P. (1979). Symbolic power. Critique of anthropology, 4(13-14), 77-85.
Bourdieu P (2002/1977) Outline of a Theory of Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Cameron LJ (2007) Patterns of metaphor use in reconciliation talk. Discourse & Society, 18(2):
197-222.
Carvalho A (2005) Representing the politics of the greenhouse effect: Discursive strategies in the
British media. Critical Discourse Studies, 2(1): 1-29.
Coombs WT (2007). Protecting organization reputations during a crisis: The development and
application of situational crisis communication theory. Corporate reputation review 10(3):
163-176.
Corrado A (2011) Clandestini in the Orange Towns: Migrations and racisms in Calabria's
agriculture. Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Contexts, 4(2): 191-201.
Corrado, A. (2017). Migrant crop pickers in Italy and Spain. E-PAPER, Berlin: Heinrich Böll
Foundation
Corrado A de Castro C and Perrotta DC (2016). (eds) Migration and Agriculture: Mobility and
change in the Mediterranean area. Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge.
Cristaldi F (2014) I nuovi schiavi: gli immigrati del Gran Ghetto di San Severo. Rivista Geografica
Italiana, 122: 119-142.
Curci S (2008) Nero invisibile normale: lavoro migrante e caporalato in Capitanata. Foggia:
Edizioni del Rosone.
! 28
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
Davidson J (2010) New slavery, old binaries: human trafficking and the borders of ‘freedom’.
Global Networks, 10(2): 244-261.
De Fina A (2008) Who tells which story and why? Micro and macro contexts in narrative. Te xt &
Talk 28(3): 421-442.
De Fina, A., & Perrino, S. (2011). Introduction: Interviews vs.‘natural’ contexts: A false dilemma.
Language in Society, 40(1), 1-11.
Fox JE Moroşanu L and Szilassy E (2015). Denying Discrimination: Status,‘Race’, and the
Whitening of Britain's New Europeans. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 41(5):
729-748.
Frank AW (2010) Letting Stories Breathe. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Garrapa, A. M. (2016). The citrus fruit crisis: value chains and ‘just in time’ migrants in Rosarno
(Italy) and Valencia (Spain). In Migration and Agriculture, (Eds) A. Corrado, C. de Castro, D.
Perrotta (pp. 135-151). London: Routledge.
Gramsci A (1971) Selections from the prison notebooks (Q. Hoare & G. N. Smith, Trans.). London:
Lawrence and Wishart.
Gray R (2002)The social accounting project and Accounting Organizations and Society Privileging
engagement, imaginings, new accountings and pragmatism over critique?. Accounting,
organizations and society, 27(7): 687-708.
Jermier JM Knights DE and Nord WR (1994) Resistance and power in organizations. Abingdon-
on-Thames: Taylor & Francis/Routledge.
Klinke A and Renn O (2001). Precautionary principle and discursive strategies: classifying and
managing risks. Journal of Risk Research, 4(2): 159-173.
Kwon W Clarke I and Wodak R (2014) Micro-level discursive strategies for constructing shared
views around strategic issues in team meetings. Journal of Management Studies, 51(2):
265-290.
Kress G (1985) Linguistic Processes in Sociocultural Practice Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Krissman F (2005) Sin coyote ni patron: why the “migrant network” fails to explain international
migration. International migration review, 39(1): 4-44
Leach CW and Livingstone AG (2015) Contesting the meaning of intergroup disadvantage: Toward
a psychology of resistance. Journal of Social Issues, 71, 614-632. doi: 10.1111/josi.12131
Leogrande A (2008) Uomini e caporali. Viaggio tra i nuovi schiavi nelle campagne del Sud.
Milano: Mondadori.
Lerner MJ (1980) The belief in a just world: A fundamental illusion. Berlin: Plenum Press.
! 29
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
Lupton D (1992) Discourse analysis: A new methodology for understanding the ideologies of health
and illness. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 16(2): 145-150.
Marchetti G (1993) Romance and the “yellow peril”: Race, sex, and discursive strategies in
Hollywood fiction. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Montagna N (2013) Labor, Citizenship, and Subjectivity: Migrants' Struggles within the Italian
Crisis. Social Justice, 39(1 (127), pp.43-61.
Morice A and Michalon B (2008) Les migrants dans l’agriculture: vers une crise de main-d’oeuvre?
Introduction. Études rurales (182): 9-28.
Mulholland K (2004) Workplace resistance in an Irish call centre: slammin’, scammin’ smokin’ an’
leavin’. Work, employment and society, 18(4): 709-724.
Oliveri F (2012) Enacting rights from below. Migrant farmworkers’ struggles in Nardo, Southern
Italy.
Palumbo L and Sciurba A (2015) Vulnerability to Forced Labour and Trafficking: The case of
Romanian women in the agricultural sector in Sicily. Anti-Trafficking Review, (5): 89.
Perrotta DC (2014) Vecchi e nuovi mediatori. Storia, geografia ed etnografia del caporalato in
agricoltura. Meridiana: 193-220.
Perrotta DC (2015) Il caporalato come sistema: un contributo sociologico. Quaderni dell’Altro
Diritto: 15-30.
Perrotta DC and Sacchetto D (2012) Il ghetto e lo sciopero: braccianti stranieri nell’Italia
meridionale. Sociologia del lavoro. 128: 152-166
Perrotta DC and Sacchetto D (2014) Migrant farmworkers in Southern Italy: ghettoes, caporalato
and collective action. Workers of the World, 1(5): 75-98.
Piva, D. (2017). I limiti dell'intervento penale sul caporalato come sistema (e non condotta) di
produzione: brevi note a margine della legge n. 199/2016. Archivio penale, 69(1), 184-196.
Poncini G (2004) Discursive strategies in multicultural business meetings. Bern: Peter Lang.
Polletta F. (2006) It Was Like a Fever: Storytelling in Protest and Politics. Chicago: University of
Chicago Press.
Poppi FIM and Campani G (forthcoming) Ex nihilo crevit: Metaphorization and ideology in an
Italian neo-Nazi group. Ethnic and Racial Studies
Poppi FIM and Di Piazza S (2017) In nomine patris: Discursive strategies and ideology in the Cosa
Nostra family discourse. Discourse, Context & Media, 15: 45-53.
Poppi FIM and Gattinara Castelli P (2018) Aliud pro alio: Context and narratives within a neo-Nazi
community of practice Journal of Language and Politics(17) 4: 1-21
! 30
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
Poppi FIM Travaglino GA Di Piazza S (2018) Talis pater, talis filius: The role of discursive
strategies, thematic narratives and ideology in Cosa Nostra. Critical Discourse Studies, DOI:
10.1080/17405904.2018.1477685
Pugliese E (2015) Braccianti, caporali, imprese. Rigo E. (eds), Leggi, migranti e caporali.
prospettive critiche e di ricerca sullo sfruttamento del lavoro in agricoltura.
Putnam LL Grant D Michelson G and Cutcher L (2005) Discourse and resistance: Targets,
practices, and consequences. Management Communication Quarterly, 19(1): 5-18.
Reisigl, M., & Wodak, R. (2005). Discourse and discrimination: Rhetorics of racism and
antisemitism. London: Routledge.
Rogaly, B. (2008). Intensification of workplace regimes in British horticulture: the role of migrant
workers. Population, Space and Place, 14(6), 497-510.
Sandberg, S., Tutenges, S., & Copes, H. (2015). Stories of violence: A narrative criminological
study of ambiguity. British Journal of Criminology, 55(6), 1168-1186.
Scott J (1990) Domination and the arts of resistance: Hidden transcripts. New Haven, CT: Yale
University Press.
Shelley L (2007) Human trafficking as a form of transnational crime. In: M. Lee (red.), Human
trafficking (pp. 116-137). Devon/Portland: Willan Publishing.
Sykes GM and Matza D (1957) Techniques of neutralization: A theory of delinquency. American
sociological review 22(6): 664-670.
Soysal YN (1994) Limits of citizenship: Migrants and postnational membership in Europe.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Thomas EF Mavor KI & McGarty C (2012) Social identities facilitate and encapsulate action-
relevant constructs: A test of the social identity model of collective action. Group Processes &
Intergroup Relations, 15(1), 75-88.
Thompson JB (1988) Mass communication and modern culture: Contribution to a critical theory of
ideology. Sociology, 22(3): 359-383.
Tondo L and Kelly A (2017) Raped, beaten, exploited: the 21st-century slavery propping up Sicilian
farming”, The Guardian. 12 March 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/
2017/mar/12/slavery-sicily-farming-raped-beaten-exploited-romanian-women
Travaglino GA (2017a). (eds.) Protest, Movements, and Dissent in the Social Sciences: A
multidisciplinary perspective. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
Travaglino GA (2017b). Support for Anonymous as vicarious dissent: Testing the social banditry
framework. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations. doi: 10.1177/1368430217722037
! 31
!
PRE-EDITED VERSION: Poppi, F. I. M. & Travaglino, G. A., (2018). Parea non servin: Strategies of exploitation and resistance in the Caporalato
discourse. Modern Italy.
Vaara E & Tienari J (2008) A discursive perspective on legitimation strategies in multinational
corporations. Academy of Management Review, 33(4): 985-993.
Van Dijk TA (2008) Discourse and power. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Van Leeuwen T and Wodak R (1999) Legitimizing immigration control: A discourse-historical
analysis. Discourse studies 1(1): 83-118.
Wetherell M and Potter J (1993) Mapping the language of racism: Discourse and the legitimation
of exploitation. New York: Columbia University Press.
Wodak, R. (2007). Pragmatics and critical discourse analysis: A cross-disciplinary inquiry.
Pragmatics & Cognition, 15(1), 203-225.
! 32
... The data in this study are from individual interviews with 18 high school and university students and four focus group interviews with three high school and university students in each. The participants, 22 men and 8 women, aged between 18 and 21 years old (average 19,6), were from Foggia in Apulia, a region in Southern Italy affected by organized crime (Bonini and Foschini 2019;Poppi and Travaglino 2019;Scionti 2018). The participants were informally approached via a social network platform (Facebook), through the authors' personal connections, and their friends. ...
... Another reason for ambiguity can reflect the local context of the study. In the Foggia area organized crime has a lot of impact in the political, economic, and civil spheres (Bonini and Foschini 2019;Poppi and Travaglino 2019). Here, organized crime provides goods, services and opportunities that are not lawfully accessible in other ways (e.g. ...
Article
Full-text available
Research on crime tends to emphasize clear-cut stories, either in support of or rejecting crime. Stories, however, are often ambiguous, mainly when they concern complex and multi-faceted phenomena. Based on qualitative interviews with Italian students, we explore how organized crime is viewed and evaluated by non-offenders. We found six widespread stories that highlight the moral ambiguity of organized crime, including such ambiguities as: people are good and evil; family relations take priority; crime involves ample opportunities and big money; organized crime is complex and involves “smart” organizations and that there are gray zones between business and crime and the endemicity of organized crime. Finally, we show the bounds of this moral ambiguity by pointing out what participants could not accept from organized crime organizations. The study was done within a framework of narrative criminology. We put a particular emphasis on how crime is socially constructed by those not involved, how worldviews of criminal organizations are embedded in more widespread values and the importance of ambiguity in storytelling.
Article
Full-text available
Ambiguity plays a central role in how narratives about violence are told, but research has rarely taken into account the ambiguity used by criminals with complex motives. Drawing on narrative criminology, this contribution explores how ambiguity is deployed in the stories of violence publicly told in a television interview by Mario Mariolini, a paraphiliac Italian killer sentenced for homicide. The analysis of the narratives, in tandem with the discursive strategies therein, demonstrates that ambiguity is strategically used for different purposes. As a result, we identify three central narratives, each displaying different ways of making instrumental use of ambiguity. In contrast to the analysis of the ambiguity produced by ordinary criminals, this contribution shows how particular and severe criminal cases are better suited for the study of narratives about violence because of more complex interplay between the ideological and communicative dimensions.
Article
Full-text available
The discursive analysis of criminal organizations’ family dynamics and ideological devices may provide important insights into the inner functioning of these groups. In this article, we describe and analyze a specific set of discursive strategies and the thematic narratives emerging from a TV interview with Giuseppe Riina, a member of Cosa Nostra and the son of one of the most important mafia bosses. Our analyses demonstrate the existence of recurring ideological devices such as reductionism, amoralism, familism, verticalism, normalism, victimism and religious relativism. The results are discussed in light of previous research that examines how discursive strategies and narratives may represent powerful tools for understanding criminal organizations. Family-related discourses, in particular, reveal meanings, values and ideas that contribute to constructing criminal organizations’ internal structure, as well as their relationship with the external world.
Article
Full-text available
This article discusses the condition of agricultural migrant workers in southern Italy. After a brief description of the general background, we will analyse two key features regarding the current situation: the state of segregation in which the workers live, and the organization of recruitment and work through the caporalato (gang-master system). To understand the importance of these aspects two areas will be compared, that of Boreano (Basilicata) and that of Nardò (Apulia), which both exemplify the central role of segregation and the illegal hiring methods of migrant workers. In the case of Nardò, we focus on the strike that involved several hundred African workers in August 2011. The analysis is based on material collected during qualitative research – in particular 54 in-depth interviews, and observations of living and working conditions, and the daily struggle of migrant workers - conducted in 2010, 2011, and 2012 in the two areas Workers of the World. International Journal on Strikes and Social Conflicts
Article
Full-text available
The discursive analysis of criminal organizations’ family dynamics and ideological devices may provide important insights into the inner functioning of these groups. In this article, we describe and analyze a specific set of discursive strategies and the thematic narratives emerging from a TV interview with Giuseppe Riina, a member of Cosa Nostra and the son of one of the most important mafia bosses. Our analyses demonstrate the existence of recurring ideological devices such as reductionism, amoralism, familism, verticalism, normalism, victimism and religious relativism. The results are discussed in light of previous research that examines how discursive strategies and narratives may represent powerful tools for understanding criminal organizations. Family-related discourses, in particular, reveal meanings, values and ideas that contribute to constructing criminal organizations’ internal structure, as well as their relationship with the external world.
Article
Full-text available
This article explores how narratives create connections between the micro-context and the macro-context, focusing on the narratives produced by a neo-Nazi group within ‘Blood and Honor’, a neo-Nazi gathering in Italy. The analysis presents a series of thematic narratives that describe how the neo-Nazi members see themselves in daily life, with their private and family sphere and how they aim to impact the political and cultural world. From these narratives, it is possible to understand how the neo-Nazi group sees society and justify the marginal role that they occupy in modern society. From this perspective, narratives operate as symbolic practice of identity creation in which members of the group negotiate new images of themselves and of their political and cultural movement. As we show, the neo-Nazi members aim to obtain legitimation and recognition in order to express a greater symbolic and social power.
Article
Full-text available
This research uses the social banditry framework to propose that voiceless individuals in an unjust context may express their grievances vicariously. Specifically, it holds that individuals who perceive the system as unjust but lack political efficacy, express their anger against the system as support for actors whose behavior disrupts the system’s functioning. These actors are situated outside conventional societal and political structures of power and institutions. To test the social banditry framework, two studies investigate attitudes toward Anonymous, a group of hackers who challenge the status quo using online tactics such as trolling. Study 1 (N = 304) demonstrates that appraising the system as more unjust and perceiving lower political efficacy are positively linked to anger against the system, which in turn predicts more positive attitudes toward Anonymous. In contrast, stronger injustice-fueled anger and stronger political efficacy predict intentions to engage in direct forms of political action, such as protesting or voting. Study 2 (N = 410) replicates these findings, and theorizes and tests the role of individualistic and collectivistic values in predicting vicarious and direct expressions of dissent. Study 2 demonstrates that endorsement of horizontal individualism predicts positive attitudes towards Anonymous, whereas horizontal collectivism predicts engagement in direct political action. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.
Article
Oggetto di questo articolo sono i lavoratori migranti nell'agricoltura dell'Italia meridionale. Dopo una descrizione del contesto, l'articolo affronta in particolare due questioni: la seclusione in cui vivono questi lavoratori e l'organizzazione del reclutamento e del lavoro attraverso il caporalato. Due studi di caso sono messi a confronto: il villaggio-ghetto di Boreano (Potenza), che esemplifica la centralitŕ della seclusione e del caporalato nel processo produttivo dell'agricoltura meridionale; la Masseria Boncuri di Nardň (Lecce), dove nell'agosto 2011 uno sciopero, nato anche grazie alla rottura della situazione di segregazione, ha coinvolto alcune centinaia di braccianti africani. L'analisi si basa su materiali raccolti durante ricerche qualitative - in particolare interviste in profonditŕ e osservazione dei contesti di abitazione, lavoro e lotta dei braccianti stranieri - condotte tra il 2010 e il 2012 nelle due aree.
Article
L’agricoltura dell’Italia meridionale, in particolare delle pianure costiere, ha vissuto negli ultimi tre decenni importanti mutamenti, in gran parte poco studiati da economisti e sociologi. In questi territori, seppur in forme differenti, si è sviluppata un’agricoltura che possiamo definire intensiva, per volume di investimenti e impatto sulle risorse, e profondamente integrata nei mercati nazionali e internazionali. Queste trasformazioni hanno interagito in maniera importante con i movimenti migratori: da un lato, infatti, negli ultimi venticinque anni ha ripreso consistenza il movimento migratorio dalle regioni meridionali verso il Nord Italia e verso l’estero (Bubbico et al., 2011); dall’altro lato, le medesime regioni venivano investite da movimenti migratori in ingresso, anche se per molti versi “di transito” verso altre aree d’Italia e d’Europa. A partire dagli anni Settanta in Sicilia e dagli anni Ottanta in tutte le pianure costiere delle regioni meridionali, dalla Capitanata alla Piana del Sele, dalla Piana di Sibari a quella di Gioia Tauro, è cresciuto costantemente il numero di lavoratori stranieri impiegati nel settore agricolo. Queste immigrazioni hanno garantito un abbassamento notevole dei costi di produzione e sostenuto un sistema produttivo agricolo che è stato accostato al “modello californiano” (Berlan, 1985; 2002). Se questo modello è comune a molte altre regioni d’Italia e d’Europa (Michalon, Morice, 2008), d’altra parte nell’Italia meridionale ha assunto caratteristiche originali, legate tanto all’organizzazione delle filiere agricole – che hanno evitato, almeno in parte, onerosi investimenti in macchinari e in altre forme di innovazione –, quanto alla legislazione sul lavoro e sui flussi migratori. In questo articolo, ci concentreremo sull’analisi di due aspetti particolarmente rilevanti: la segregazione in cui vivono i lavoratori migranti nell’agricoltura meridionale e l’organizzazione del reclutamento e del lavoro attraverso il sistema del caporalato. A questo proposito, metteremo a confronto due casi, quello di Boreano (Potenza), che esemplifica la centralità della segregazione e del caporalato nella gestione dei lavoratori migranti, e quello di Nardò (Lecce), dove nell’agosto 2011 uno sciopero ha coinvolto alcune centinaia di braccianti africani. L’analisi si basa su materiali raccolti durante ricerche qualitative – in particolare interviste in profondità e momenti di osservazione dei contesti di abitazione, lavoro e lotta dei braccianti stranieri – condotte tra il 2010 e il 2012 nelle due aree.
Article
In retrace some problems relating to the scope of Exegetical new cases under art. 603-bis c.p., even as crimecondition of administrative liability, the author argues that the measures introduced by law 199/206 demonstrate the limits of the intervention on criminal phenomena which, like that of the c.d. 'caporalato', do not express much individual conduct but rather a real production system against which the indiscriminate tightening sanctions proves therefore merely symbolic whereas in terms of policy-criminal, it would be desirable to use an integrated regulation as a preventive measure.