In 2016, our research team secured a $1.8 million dollar grant from the Norwegian Research Council for a multi-year project (2016-2022) that considers important but poorly explored questions of how contemporary global flows of low-skilled and manual labour transform the social fabric of non-urban regions in Western societies. The project is a 3 year comparative study across the US, UK, and Norway.

The project seeks to integrate knowledge from immigration theory, labor market theory, as well as rural studies to consider the following research questions across these three areas:

  •  Rural transnationalism: How are transnational spaces created, practiced, and experienced differently in rural and urban areas? What are the specifics of the rural version of transnationalism, and with what implications for the actors?
  • New social inequalities in rural societies: How are the interactions of class and ethnic inequalities expressed in the case of global labor in rural societies? Are there specific properties of the rural logic of social distinctions and class structures? Do labor immigrants experience their position as precarious workers differently in rural and urban communities?
  • Multispatial rural practices, identities, and belongings: How are rural places constructed by and interwoven into complex webs of relations with extra-local places, e.g., as demonstrated by the reliance of local rural economies on global labor markets? As actors’ everyday lives are increasingly spatially distributed – what are major impacts for questions of rural identities and belonging?


  • Scott, S. and M.A. Visser. (In Press). Constraining Labour: The integration dynamics of working-class horticultural migrants in rural areas of Norway, the UK and the US. Sociologia Ruralis.
  • Visser, M.A. and S.A. Simpson. (2021). Growth of Local Latino Populations Linked to Increase in County-Level Immigration Policy Adoption. Center for Poverty and Inequality Research: University of California, Davis
  • Visser, M.A. & S.A. Simpson. (2018). Understanding Local Government’s Engagement in Immigrant Policymaking in the US. In  Darling, J. and H. Bauder (eds). From Nation to City: Rescaling Migration, Citizenship, and Rights. Manchester University Press.
  • Visser, M.A. & L.E. Guarnizo. (2017). Migration and the Informal Economy: Interrogating the Implications for Policy and Economic Security of Developed Economies. Population, Space, and Place 23(8).
  • Visser, M.A. and L.E. Guarnizo. (Accepted). Room for Maneuver: Rethinking the Intersections Between Migration and the Informal Economy in Post-Industrial Economies. Forthcoming in Population, Space, and Place. DOI:  10.1002/psp.2085
  • Visser, M.A. (2016). Reshaping Migrant Labor Market Geographies: Local Regularizations and the Informal Economy. Population, Space, and Place DOI: 10.1002/psp.2025.