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African Logistics Agents and Middlemen as Cultural Brokers in Guangzhou

[journal article]

Mathews, Gordon

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Abstract "This article begins by asking how African traders learn to adjust to the foreign world of Guangzhou, China, and suggests that African logistics agents and middlemen serve as cultural brokers for these traders. After defining 'cultural broker' and discussing why these brokers are not usually Chinese, it explores this role as played by ten logistics agents/middlemen from Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As logistics agents, these people help their customers in practically adjusting to Chinese life, and as middlemen they serve to grease the wheels of commerce between African customers and Chinese suppliers. This is despite their own ambivalent views of China as a place to live. They play an essential role in enabling harmonious relations between Africans and Chinese in Guangzhou, even though they see themselves not as cultural brokers but simply as businessmen." (author's abstract)
Keywords China; African; businessman; commerce; cultural factors; cultural difference; multicultural society; social adjustment; cultural integration; multiplier; migrant; migration; Far East
Classification Migration, Sociology of Migration; Cultural Sociology, Sociology of Art, Sociology of Literature
Document language English
Publication Year 2015
Page/Pages p. 117-144
Journal Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 44 (2015) 4
Issue topic Foreign Lives in a Globalising City: Africans in Guangzhou
ISSN 1868-4874
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-NoDerivs