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Introduction: Practices of Brokerage and the Making of Migration Infrastructures in Asia

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This special issue develops brokerage as a historically specific category of practice to investigate its intricate link in shaping and sustaining Asian migration infrastructures. To understand this specific interconnection, the authors focus their analytical lenses on the emergence and functioning of migration infrastructures in the particular socio-cultural contexts of Nepal, Indonesia, the Philippines, and South Korea. Reflecting the "Asian infrastructural turn," the collection examines diverse infrastructural forms, processes, and potentials embedded in, and in turn productive of, a range of brokerage activities, objects, institutions, and actors. Inspired by the ongoing methodological attention to the "migrant-broker" category, our ethnographic cases illuminate in various ways the specific social histories and political processes on which understandings of brokerage are based, and account for the different ways brokerage practices materialize across Asia. Of particular interest is the contingent social worlds of brokerage as they unfold in the everyday—through indeterminacy, unstable relational dynamics, institutional limits, and experimental possibilities—(re)organizing existing socio-cultural orders as well as convening infrastructural potentials.
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Keywords: ASIA; BROKERAGE; INFRASTRUCTURE; LOW-WAGE LABOUR; MIGRATION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2018

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