Valeria Piro

What is a fair wage? Negotiations of the price of labor in a Sicilian greenhouse

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Using an ethnographic approach, the present essay deals with the topic of salary formation within the informal labor market in the agricultural sector. Attention is therefore focused on the daily interaction and processes of negotiation that have at stake the definition of a «fair wage». Examining what is said to be a «fair» salary allows one to focus on the normative aspects of the economic action and permits the investigation of the concepts of «justice» and relative «justifications». The ethnographic account of an experience of covert participant observation, conducted in a greenhouse farm located in a transformed littoral belt in the province of Ragusa (Sicily), allows these phases of negotiation to be explored. The article aims to focus on the ways in which the value of labor is intersubjectively defined, according to a set of conventions that include gender, nationality and the concept of productivity.


  • Agricultural Labor
  • Negotiations
  • Salaries
  • Economics of Conventions
  • Sicily
  • Ethnography of Work
  • Workplace Conflict
  • Tunisian Immigrants


Article first page

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