Migrants and Pastoralism: The Case of the Romanian Salaried Shepherds in the Sardinian Countryside
Over the past decade, research into the role of migrants in agriculture within global capitalism increased. Several studies analyze the exploitation of migrants in the intensive agricultural system as a negative effect of market price competition. Within the context, this article focuses on a case- study which so far has received little scholarly attention, that of Romanian salaried shepherds in Sardinia (Italy). Historically, being a salaried shepherd represented a common step in the moral career of the local shepherds: the young people started as «salaried»; during the years of training they became experts and earned enough money to become autonomous. At the beginning of the nineties, the role of the «salaried» shepherd has shifted from the local young people to Romanians and other foreign workers, who are now willing to accept working conditions and salaries usually rejected by the local people. The use of Romanian cheap workforce re ects the structural problems of the Sardinian sheep dairy system, as well as the dif culty of recruiting local people who may want to live and work in the countryside. This article is based on a qualitative research with ethnographic observation and in depth interviews conducted among local shepherds as well as Romanian across Sardinia to offer a comprehensive view of the role of Romanian salaried shepherds in the local breeding activities and practices.
Keywords: Pastoralism; Romanian Salaried Shepherds; Migrant Workers; Sardinia.