Precarity, Migration and Brokerage in Indonesia: Insights from Ethnographic Research in Indramayu

  • Avyanthi AzisEmail author
  • Rhino Ariefiansyah
  • Nastiti Setia Utami


This chapter offers a structural analysis that problematizes the role of informal brokers in Indonesia’s labor outmigration. Drawing from ethnographic engagement in Indramayu, West Java, this chapter employs the concept of “precarity” in understanding the recruitment of Indonesia’s low-wage migrant workers. We push the collective understanding further through focusing on brokers, and how their precarity affects migration. For Indramayu’s informal brokers, brokerage is often just one among the many odd jobs they involve themselves in for their survival. Besides this, we direct attention to locals’ deep entanglement to argue that perpetuation of migration intermediation stems out of widespread acceptance of brokerage as a rural livelihood in the face of economic and ecological crises.


Precarity Migration Brokerage Indonesia 



Our work would not be possible without our Dermayon interlocutors’ generosity with their time, trust, and cultural knowledge of the world they live in. The authors would like to thank Johan Lindquist for his close reading of an earlier version of this chapter and supportive feedback, as well as well as participants of the workshop “The Migration Industry: Facilitators and Brokerage in Asia,” organized by the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, on June 1–2, 2017, for their thought-provoking comments. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies, whether public, commercial, or non-profit.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Avyanthi Azis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rhino Ariefiansyah
    • 2
  • Nastiti Setia Utami
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of International RelationsUniversity of IndonesiaDepokIndonesia
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of IndonesiaDepokIndonesia
  3. 3.META Innovation LabJakartaIndonesia

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