Embedded and External Brokers: The Distinct Roles of Intermediaries in Workplace Inequality

  • López-Sanders L
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Immigration scholars have made great strides in documenting the role of labor agents in connecting immigrant workers with jobs, though less attention has centered on whether such brokerage exacerbates existing workplace inequalities. Based on participant observation and in-depth interviews over 15 months in seven workplaces, I examine power dynamics and relations between brokers and immigrant workers. My analyses show that temporary agencies and embedded brokers play a complementary role in incorporating undocumented immigrants into jobs. Yet important power imbalances develop within these relationships, with implications for the inequalities that the most vulnerable workers experience.

Author-supplied keywords

  • brokers
  • immigrants
  • relational inequality

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  • Laura López-Sanders

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