Immigrants and the new "Reserve Army of Labour": Public Actors and the Regional Gatekeepers of the Construction Sector. A comparison between France and Italy
Université de Provence-Département de Sociologie Laboratoire d'Economie et Sociologie du Travail (LEST-CNRS) Aix en Provence, France
Modern society became a wage earning society; to be integrated into the labour market means to have a paid job and the rights attached to it to benefit from the social security system (Castel, 1995). However these benefits are frequently proportional to the status of the employee, and therefore the matrix of integration in society (Schnapper, 1989; Demazière, 1998).
The French republican model of integration functioned so long as employment and social protection were controlled by the Keynesian convention of full employment (Tripier, 1991). The irruption of mass unemployment completely put out of order the ?integration machine?.
The role and intervention capacity of local public actors, on the labour market, is increasingly confronted with new issues that are questioning their effectiveness and legitimacy, both on the level of their capability to promote new models of professional inclusion and on the level of social integration of the immigrant workforce. What are the relevant categories of the public action? Are there specific categories such as first generation immigrants, or do policies address other general groups on the labour market such as seniors, women, people with low job skills? Do these categories fit with the real functioning of the construction labour market, where private actors are supposed to solve pragmatically the problems related to the workforce supply?
At the methodological level, this research will refer to a "revisited" (Verdier, 2000) societal analysis (Maurice, Sellier, Silvestre 1982), useful to compare the societal coherences of the two national cases.
We propose to explore the negotiation mechanisms between actors, concerning the conventions (Eymard-Duverney, 2002 and 2008; Boltanski and Thévenot, 1991) that regulate the access of the immigrant workforce to the labour market in the construction sector.
One of the comparison dimension focus on the role of networks and of qualification standards as instruments that can at the same time weaken and accentuate the segmentation of the local labour market.