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Abstract

Contributing to the rich literature about migration and mobilities, this research builds on a post-transnational analysis of migration. Starting from the acknowledged active role migrants play in building transnational and translocal ties, the research focuses on intermediaries active in migration dynamics. Through the study of Pakistani intermediaries in Hong Kong, the author shows how they are active at the junction of different social groups and strata in a mediating role that allows them to be socially mobile. This further exposes the multiplicity of ‘value systems’ that are at play in the spaces where social groups intermingle. Building on empirical materials gathered in Hong Kong, the author builds a sociology of intermediaries in a context where migrants are ‘stuck’ both physically and socioeconomically. Using the intermediary as methodological entry-point the research reveals the obstacles and power relations present in the migratory process. Adding to the critique of culturalism, this analysis advocates for a greater consideration of the values guiding migrants’ sociality. The focus on these actors further emphasises the multifaceted character of mobility aspirations being simultaneously geographical and social. This research hence shows how migrants’ mobility and intermediation processes are tightly connected to value systems and moral structures that condition and restrict (social) mobility.

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