The city has become the context for a dialectical relationship not only between the global and the local but also between migrants and the host society. Whilst there is considerable work on migrant integration, integration is rarely examined from the perspective of the workplace, or from a geographic perspective, which problematizes the spatiality of migrant workers’ experiences. This article studies migrant workers in low-skilled jobs, with a focus on Temporary Service Sector Providers in catering, cleaning, and security, in order to understand how they negotiate their position in the city and are active agents of this negotiation. The study, based upon a survey of 60 migrants complemented by 20 in-depth interviews, questions how integration should be understood: in particular it suggests that—in some respects—integration may be difficult for all low-wage precarious workers, whether migrants or not. The study also highlights how migrant workers retain agency—the capacity to act, to make decisions, and appropriate certain places—even in challenging circumstances.
Source: Urban Geography, first published online 1 December 2015