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Over the last fifteen years, social science research on the migration of foreign seasonal workers employed in agriculture has multiplied [Michalon and Potot 2008; Morice and Michalon 2008; Crenn and Tersigny 2013; Eriksson et al. 2019]. These studies have focused on migrant populations, understood as a keystone of agricultural capitalism [Tsing 2009; Eriksson and Tollefsen; 2015 Bélanger and Candiz 2015; Kasimis et al. 2015]. Seasonal work is, in fact, the indispensable condition for the proper functioning of delicate intensive crops, and more generally for that of agri-food chains that have become a system of transnational industrial relations [Eriksson et al. op. cit.]. Foreign seasonal workers are part of what J.-P. Berlan calls the “Californian model”: the diversity of statuses and agricultural contracts as well as the complexity of recruitment methods respond to the necessary adjustments of seasonal needs according to the season (early, late) and weather conditions. They illustrate the way in which the main companies externalise the risks of recruitment and employment [Tsing op. cit.]. For a long time left on the fringes of rural studies [Hubscher and Farcy 1996], foreign agricultural seasonal workers have often been presented as ‘birds of passage’ [Piore 1980] in the scientific literature, and more recently characterised by their precariousness [Potot and Morice 2010; Diallo 2020] or their invisibility [Mésini 2013].
In the wake of these studies, which emphasise the circulations to which they are often assigned within the framework of supervised arrangements, this article considers the constitution of a chain of Bulgarian agricultural workers which passes through both recruitment procedures and their installation, by means of local arrangements and a certain complicity with th…


Based on a case study in the Loudunais, a rural area in decline and dominated by specialised agricultural sectors (melons, vines), the article studies the way a Bulgarian migratory chain is developing thanks to the operation of a complex set of keyplayers, as well as a growing empowerment in relation to traditional recruitment channels. The housing issue highlights a range of accommodation, from institutional arrangements to informal initiatives, to retain foreign seasonal labour. Thus it reflects a diversity of forms of presence of Bulgarian seasonal workers, ranging from repeated circulation to more permanent patterns of settlement.

  • Bulgaria
  • Loudun
  • foreigners
  • settlement
  • accommodation
  • seasonal workers

Les saisonniers agricoles bulgares dans le Loudunais

De la circulation à l’installation

À l’échelle du Loudunais (Vienne), territoire rural en déprise et dominé par des filières agricoles spécialisées (melons, vignes), l’article montre comment, par le fonctionnement d’un jeu d’acteurs complexe, est constituée une filière migratoire bulgare qui s’autonomise par rapport aux modes de recrutement classiques. L’entrée par le logement met en évidence une palette de dispositifs d’hébergement et d’initiatives moins formelles pour fidéliser la main-d’œuvre saisonnière étrangère. Ils reflètent une diversité des formes de présence des saisonniers bulgares, allant de la circulation répétée à des modes d’installation plus pérennes.

  • Bulgarie
  • Loudun
  • étrangers
  • installation
  • hébergement
  • main-d’œuvre
  • saisonniers
Camille Hochedez
Geographer, lecturer, University of Poitiers, MIGRINTER – International Migrations, Spaces and Societies (UMR 7301), Poitiers
David Lessault
Geographer, research fellow, CNRS, Espaces et sociétés (UMR 6590), Angers
Translated by
Yasmin Arain
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Uploaded on on 05/01/2023
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