Bodies, Brokers & Borders: Labor Market Intermediaries & Transnational Migration

Saturday, April 3, 2010 | 8:45 AM – 5:30 PM
Oakes College, Room 105, UC Santa Cruz

Bodies, Brokers & Borders conference posterTemp agencies, bodyshops, shape-ups, headhunters. In today’s global economy, workers at all skill levels face more precarious, insecure and temporary jobs. Meanwhile, more people must push across international borders in search of decent work. • Both employers and workers increasingly turn to a rising player–labor brokers–to match jobs to workers, whether across town or across oceans. Do these labor market intermediaries, now fixtures in industries from construction to healthcare to IT, provide new paths to innovation and migrant mobility, or simply new frameworks for exploitation? • This conference brings together a wide range of scholars to explore just how transnational brokerage actually works, whether alternatives exist, and what the rise of brokering means
for workers, industries and for the future of labor markets.


Governing Brokerage: From Brokerage States to Abetting Forced Labor

XIANG BIAO, Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, Oxford
author of Global ‘Body Shopping’: An Indian International Labor System in the IT Industry

author of Migrants for Export: How the Philippine State Brokers Workers to the World

Brokering Labor and Capital: How the Evolution of Global Financial Markets and State Regulations Created a Migration Industry

Brokering Cross-Border Professionals: IT & Beyond

ANNALEE SAXENIAN, Dean, School of Information, UC Berkeley
author of The New Argonauts: Regional Advantage in a Global Economy

Corporate Clients, Employers, and Indian Immigrant IT Workers in the U.S.

ANNA GUEVARRA, University of Illinois, Chicago
author of Marketing Dreams, Manufacturing Heroes: The Transnational Labor Brokering of Filipino Workers

The Migration Industry & Precarious Employment

author of Metropolitan Migrants: The Migration of Urban Mexicans to the U.S.

Brokering Incorporation: Bilingual Brokers and Ethnic Replacement Processes in New Immigrant Destinations

Producing Precarity: The Role of Temporary Help Agencies in the Labor Market

Brokering Alternatives? Community-based Worker Centers & Migrant Day Labor

JAMIE PECK, Research Chair, Urban and Regional Political Economy, University of British Columbia
author of WorkPlace: The Social Regulation of Labor Markets
and NIK THEODORE, Director, Center for Urban Economic Development, University of Illinois, Chicago
co-author of Flexible Recession: The Temporary Staffing Industry and Mediated Work in the United States

ABEL VALENZUELA, Director, Center for the Study of Urban Poverty
co-author of On the Corner: Day Labor in the United States

JANICE FINE, School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers
author of Worker Centers: Organizing Communities at the Edge of the Dream

Free and open to the public

This is event is presented by the UCSC Center for Labor Studies, funded by the Miguel Contreras Labor Studies Fund of the University of California Office of the President, with generous additional support from the UCSC Center for Global, International, & Regional Studies, and co-sponsored by the UCSC Division of the Humanities and the Vice Chancellor for Research.

For further information, including disabled access, contact Shann Ritchie at the UCSC Institute for Humanities Research,, (831) 459-5655. Parking will be available Oakes College. Maps:

Staffing provided by the UCSC Institute for Humanities Research.