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During the recent financial crisis, the conflict between sovereign states and banks over who controls the creation of money was thrown into sharp relief. This collection investigates the relationship between states and banks, arguing that conflicts between the two over control of money produces critical junctures. Drawing on Max Weber's concept of 'mobile capital', the book examines the mobility of capital networks in contexts of funding warfare, global bubbles and dangerous instability disengaged from social-economic activity. It proposes that mobile capital is a primary feature of capitalism and nation states, and furthermore, argues that the perennial, hierarchical struggles between states and global banks is intrinsic to capitalism. Featuring authors writing from an impressively diverse range of academic backgrounds (including sociology, geography, economics and politics), Critical Junctures in Mobile Capital presents a variety of analyses using current or past examples from different countries, federations, and of differing forms of mobile capital.
The purpose of this chapter is to analyse the sources of discrimination operating at the entrance to and within the labour market in eight different European countries: Austria, Cyprus, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Sweden and the UK. The findings presented here draw on approximately 65 expert interviews conducted by various members of the project team with teachers, managers, workers, trade union and/or work council representatives, officials at employment mediation offices and various NGO representatives in each of these countries in spring 2004. The interviews concerned with the labour market focused on various aspects of the hiring, work and layoff processes in two different towns in each country, where at least one public and one private firm was to be investigated. Although caution is advised given the problems of access, uneven willingness of firm representatives to answer our questions and the qualitative nature of our data, some insights into commonalities and differences in European patterns of discrimination can be offered. Before presenting them, let me briefly and roughly position our approach to labour market-related discrimination.
Human capital and the organizational-structural perspective dominate current debates about inequalities in the labour market. The first perspective takes a look at job applicants – either directly or through the eyes of the employer (see, for example, Kalter and Kogan 2002 but also Harzing 1995). The proponents of the human capital approach initially proposed by the economist Gary Becker in 1964 look at the supply side of the hiring process.
In this chapter we want to investigate the ways in which the everyday encounters between ‘natives’ and ‘foreigners’ affects the ways in which migrants think and feel about themselves. In particular, we are interested in the non-physical hurt experienced by migrants: daily and routinely migrants confront different forms of rejection that can be intimidating, humiliating and incapacitating; repeated experience of such rejections causes feelings of fear, inferiority and reserve. We wish to explore these feelings, leaving for the next chapter the task of analysing subterfuge and resistance. The interview material that we draw upon shows that some people in the street, neighbours, sales clerks as well as the public authorities and the police sometimes do their utmost to make migrants feel miserable and undesired. We will focus on how ‘natives’ – including public officials and police – communicate their hostility towards migrants relying on the gaze, the body and the simplest forms of verbal communication.
Two Meanings of Symbolic Violence
When Pierre Bourdieu introduced the term ‘symbolic violence’, he referred to positive, status-upgrading naming and bonding practices which concealed the true face of exploitation and domination in a Kabyl society he studied – a society which could not rely on the money economy, courts, police or politics to legitimate, conceal and reinforce the prevailing forms of domination (1991 : 21–31,188–92). His concept stood mainly for status upgrading through bonding and symbols.
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