Brokerage and transnationalism: present and past intermediaries, social mobility, and mixed loyalties

de Jong, Sara (2018). Brokerage and transnationalism: present and past intermediaries, social mobility, and mixed loyalties. Identities: global studies in culture and power, 25(5) pp. 610–628.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1070289x.2018.1515778

Abstract

This article brings two distinct sets of literatures in dialogue with one another: ethnohistorical studies on cultural brokerage and mediation in colonial/settler societies and studies of contemporary transnational activities. The article argues that this is productive because it throws into sharper relief three significant areas of contention that are a common thread of many empirical transnational studies, but are rarely of central concern. For each of these three identified aspects, respectively, the desire for mediation, social mobility, and mixed loyalties, it traces the historical resonance with cultural brokerage and shows how ethnohistorical research can complicate current transnational studies. It thereby challenges transnational scholarship’s focus on the newness of transnational exchange and demonstrates how ethnohistorical findings on brokers and mediators can aid the development of the research agenda of transnational studies.

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