This essay reflects on the ways migrant day laborers advance a politics oriented toward the refusal of work. It identifies both impediments and tendencies conducive to such a politics by examining Latino migrant day laborers’ commentaries on their work searches on street corners as well as their efforts to organize communities through worker centers in US cities. Adapting an approach from popular education, the essay argues that day laborers are cultivating temporally inventive modes of activity through worker centers that displace work as the primary social value, even though these organizations do not (yet) radically repudiate work. Day laborers also suggest new critical shadings of the refusal of work in terms of “convivial” relations that “open pathways” to politicization. Even in the midst of violent precaritization, and notwithstanding their productivist resolve to continue “fighting for the job” under neoliberal conditions, migrant day laborers thus have much to contribute to the mobilization of an antiwork politics.
Skip Nav Destination
1 April 2018
Research Article| April 01 2018
Day Laborers and the Refusal of Work
South Atlantic Quarterly (2018) 117 (2): 439–448.
Day Laborers and the Refusal of Work. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 April 2018; 117 (2): 439–448. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-4374955
Download citation file: