Claudio Sopranzetti, University of Oxford, gives a talk for the Arrival Cities COMPAS Seminar Series.
This talk analyses the transformation of labor and internal migration structure in Thailand since the 1997 economic crisis. In particular it shows how, since the restructuring of the Thai economy along post-fordist lines, both processes have been re-organized through discourse and practices of "free" flexible labor. The speaker focus specifically on a group of informal urban workers: motorcycle taxi drivers who, as migrant workers from the provinces, allow Bangkok to function. While many of these migrants used to work in factories before the crisis, since then they have decided to join the ranks of "free" transportation entrepreneurs, gaining easier mobility between the city and their villages but also renouncing to social security and other services, not unlike millions of workers around the world. This talk analyses this process both in its emancipatory and exploitative dimensions to explore the duplicitous nature of mobility in contemporary Thailand.