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Pacific Affairs is pleased to announce that the eleventh William L. Holland Prize for the best article published in Volume 85 (2012) of Pacific Affairs has been awarded to Biao Xiang for his article published in Volume 85 No.1, March 2012, pp. 47-68
Predatory Princes and Princeley Peddlers: The State and International Labour Migration Intermediaries in China
A sterling combination of in-depth ethnographic research and theoretical sophistication, this year’s Holland Prize winning article by Biao Xiang examines the question of why and how chains of migration agents or brokers in China continue to thrive despite state attempts to deregulate and re-regulate them. Arguing against the common view of private migration agents as interstitial actors operating between demand and supply, markets and states, or migrants and governments, the article demonstrates that agent chains composed of both state-owned migration agents (predatory princes) and sub-contracted private enterprises (princely peddlers) flourish because they form an integral component within a complex and centralized system of governance. The rich fieldwork contributes new knowledge for specialists of China, while the argument provides a refinement of and a challenge to the existing analyses of not only migration brokers but also state-society relations.
Biao Xiang is a University Lecturer in Social Anthropology at Oxford University. He is the author of The Intermediary Trap (Princeton University Press, forthcoming); Global “Body Shopping” (Princeton University Press, 2007; winner of the 2008 Anthony Leeds Prize; Chinese by Peking University Press 2012); Transcending Boundaries (Chinese by Sanlian Press, 2000; English by Brill Academic Publishers, 2005) and over 40 articles in both English and Chinese, and in both academic journals and the public media. He is also a co-editor of Return: Nationalizing Transnational Mobility in Asia (with Brenda Yeoh and Mika Toyota, Duke University Press, 2013).