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Labour, race and belonging in the Australian horticultural industry

Labour, race and belonging in the Australian horticultural industry

Seasonal labour within the horticultural industry, particularly harvest labour, has often been the focus of heated debate. Challenges related to workforce availability, the so-called ‘backpacker tax’, as well as allegations of exploitation, are often framed in terms of economic and policy considerations. However, these also have complex social and cultural dimensions, and emerge in the context of colonial histories and practices of place-making.

Using an innovative historical-anthropological approach, this project aims to strengthen understandings of the intersections of labour and race relations in Australia’s horticultural industry and the communities entangled with it. In what ways does labour produce belonging, and for whom? Inversely, in what ways does labour produce exclusion? What are the differentiated experiences of Pacific Islander temporary migrant workers, European backpackers, farmers, and others? How can we understand these in relation to local Indigenous histories of both labour and dispossession?



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