+++ Apologies for cross-posting +++


*Labour, migration and brokers*


Global Conference on Economic Geography

July 24­–28 2018, University of Cologne

Organisers: Huey Shy Chau, Jennifer Steiner, Karin Schwiter

(University of Zurich)

In many contexts around the world, the services of brokers play a decisive role in enabling labour migration. Even in spaces of relatively free movements, such as within Europe, labour brokers have been gaining importance. Our session examines this ‘middle space of labour migration’ (Lindquist, Xiang and Yeoh 2012).

The term broker here refers to a party that mediates between other parties, such as between employers and workers (ibid.). It encompasses various forms of brokers including temporary staffing agencies, agencies that hire migrant workers for specialised services (such as for live-in care), and informal brokers. Our session aims at exploring the role of labour brokering in relation to migration in a variety of contexts.

Papers may address (but are not limited to) the following questions:

·How is labour migration brokered in different geographical and regulatory contexts?

·In what ways do labour brokers shape working conditions of migrant workers?

·How do labour brokers influence the organisation of migrant workers’ movements and migrant workers’ agency?

·What are labour brokers’ roles in shifting constellations of migration control?

·In what ways do brokering services enable the emergence of specific transnational labour arrangements, migration channels and geographies?

·What are the institutional and regulatory contexts in which labour migration brokers emerge?

·In what ways do labour migration brokers shape (labour) markets?

·How can focuses on labour migration brokers contribute to understanding current processes of social transformation?

Please submit a 250-words abstract online through the conference website between November 15th 2017 and March 15th 2018: https://www.gceg2018.com/call-for-sessions-and-papers.html

For further inquiry feel free to contact us:
Huey Shy (hueyshy.c...@geo.uzh.ch)
Jennifer Steiner (jennifer.stei...@geo.uzh.ch <mailto:jennifer.stei...@geo.uzh.ch>)


Lindquist, Johan, Biao Xiang, and Brenda S.A. Yeoh. 2012. ‘Opening the Black Box of Migration: Brokers, the Organization of Transnational Mobility and the Changing Political Economy in Asia’. Pacific Affairs 85 (1):7–19.

Huey Shy Chau Ph.D.

SNSF Early Postdoc.Mobility Fellow, Yale-NUS College Singapore
Affiliated researcher, Department of Geography, University of Zurich

Mobile Singapore +65 83 46 17 93
Mobile Switzerland +41 79 778 47 85


Chau, Huey Shy, Katharina Pelzelmayer, and Karin Schwiter. 2017. ‘Short-Term Circular Migration and Gendered Negotiation of the Right to the City: The Case of Migrant Live-in Care Workers in Basel, Switzerland’. /Cities. The international journal of urban policy and planning./ Online first.

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