Cultural brokers and mediators

Authored by: Antje Dietze

The Routledge Handbook of Transregional Studies

Print publication date:  November  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138718364
eBook ISBN: 9780429438233
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780429438233-62

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Abstract

The figure of the cultural broker or mediator has gained remarkable prominence in transregional studies as well as in transnational and global history over the last decades. It has been used to study all kinds of cultural entanglements, ranging from early modern cultural encounters and exploration to the formation of colonial empires as well as of post-colonial nation-states. They also include the co-evolution of civilizations or national cultures, the circulation of knowledge, and social relations in culturally diverse societies. Thus far, across the diversity of research fields, no consolidated usage or systematic differentiation of the terms ‘mediator’ or ‘broker’ – and also intermediary, go-between, passeur, Vermittler, etc. – has been developed. However, all those notions point to a facilitating role in transmission or transaction and thus to the basic function of those individuals or groups in different kinds of interactions. These interactions would not take place, or would at least face great difficulties, without their support.

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