Nationalizing Transnational Mobility in Asia


Book Pages: 240 Illustrations: 8 photographs Published: October 2013

Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Asian Studies, Geography

Since the late 1990s, Asian nations have increasingly encouraged, facilitated, or demanded the return of emigrants. In this interdisciplinary collection, distinguished scholars from countries around the world explore the changing relations between nation-states and transnational mobility. Taking into account illegally trafficked migrants, deportees, temporary laborers on short-term contracts, and highly skilled émigrés, the contributors argue that the figure of the returnee energizes and redefines nationalism in an era of increasingly fluid and indeterminate national sovereignty. They acknowledge the diversity, complexity, and instability of reverse migration, while emphasizing its discursive, policy, and political significance at a moment when the tensions between state power and transnational subjects are particularly visible. Taken together, the essays foreground Asia as a useful site for rethinking the intersections of migration, sovereignty, and nationalism.

Contributors. Sylvia Cowan, Johan Lindquist, Melody Chia-wen Lu, Koji Sasaki, Shin Hyunjoon, Mariko Asano Tamanoi, Mika Toyota, Carol Upadhya, Wang Cangbai, Xiang Biao, Brenda S. A. Yeoh


“This book is an excellent and well-written collection, and it is accessible to students and the educated reader as well as professional academics. Those interested in Asian studies, migration, and human diasporas will want to read it immediately.” — Nobuko Adachi, American Ethnologist

“One of the collection’s strengths, and indeed one of the reasons that an edited volume provides an appropriate means of dealing with the question of return, is that it highlights how the differentiated and segmented relations that Asian states form with returnees require patterns of coalescence, as well as heterogeneity.” — Brett Neilson, Asian Journal of Social Science

“In Return, Xiang, Yeoh, Toyota and eight other contributors offer insightful answers…. By highlighting the complexities of return migration in Asia, this edited volume surely achieves its set goal and constitutes an important contribution to the literature on returnees, refugees and migrants in Asia. Academics, specialists and students will welcome this volume as an important addition to the literature on cultural geography and Asia Studies.” — Kai Chen, Cultural Geographies

“In sum, this volume offers highly readable, provocative critical analyses of return migration that force us to consider how it is regulated, and at what costs. It will be valuable for anyone interested in the complexities of return migration in Asia.” — Glenda S. Roberts, Pacific Affairs

“Return is never just a simple move, as the book editors claim in the introduction and proceed to demonstrate through the different contributions. With return migration only recently emerging as an aspect of migration studies in its own right, this edited collection provides great stimulation for generating ideas of return migration in an advanced and multifaceted way. The book is highly recommended for students of the social sciences, in particular those concerned with mobility, migration, and nation-building.” — Brigitte Suter, Border Criminologies

“On the surface, the study of migration is about mobility, yet it tends generally to be about its states of arrest, usually in the presumed destination country. Prefixes for migration like ‘circular,’ ‘seasonal,’ and ‘temporary’ do little to disturb this norm. Return: Nationalizing Transnational Mobility in Asia is refreshing for this reason. Its subject is transnational mobility rather than migration in the conventional linear sense. … On the whole, this volume hangs together well. Readers of Transfers will especially appreciate the renewed focus on nation and national policies that these essays, albeit in different ways, bring to discussions of mobility.”  — Gopalan Balachandran, Transfers

“Without a doubt, this will be a much quoted piece and will foreground many stimulating conversations on the return process. Migration scholars, policy advisers, program implementers, and donor agencies can greatly benefit from making this book a useful tool in analyzing how migrants and nation-states respond to the challenges of return.” — Jean Encinas-Franco, Asian Politics & Policy

"This important volume creates a link between two phenomena that are often treated as oppositional, nation and (trans) nation. Focusing on return migration, the contributors show that space is more than place; it is a method for understanding global movements. The chapters illustrate how generation, class, and often flexible categories (returnee, refugee, and worker) place institutions and the people that they claim to serve in a constantly negotiated relationship. The conversation between scholars of different disciplines will stimulate wide-ranging debate." — Jeffrey Lesser, author of A Discontented Diaspora: Japanese Brazilians and the Meanings of Ethnic Militancy, 1960–1980

"This collection identifies an important patterning of migrations, one exerted by Asian nations pulling far-ranging emigrants and refugees toward home. Different chapters trace the exigency and enigma of return experienced by sojourners and soldiers in the 20th century, and expatriates and professionals in contemporary times. The book will be of interest to scholars working in anthropology, history, sociology, global studies, Asian studies, and critical geography." — Aiwha Ong, coeditor of Asian Biotech: Ethics and Communities of Fate


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Xiang Biao is University Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford. He is the author of Global "Body Shopping": An Indian Labor System in the Information Technology Industry.

Brenda S. A. Yeoh is Professor in Geography at the National University of Singapore. She is a coeditor of The Cultural Politics of Talent Migration in East Asia.

Mika Toyota is Associate Professor in the College of Tourism at Rikkyo University. She and Yeoh are coeditors of Migration and Health in Asia.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments vii

Introduction. Return and the Reordering of Transnational Mobility in Asia / Xiang Biao 1

1. To Return or Not to Return: The Changing Meaning of Mobility among Japanese Brazilians, 1908–2010 / Koji Sasaki 21

2. Soldier's Home: War, Migration, and Delayed Return in Postwar Japan / Mariko Asano Tamanoi 39

3. Guiqiao as Political Subjects in the Making of the People's Republic of China, 1949–1979 / Wang Cangbai 63

4. Transnational Encapsulation: Compulsory Return as a Labor-Migration Control in East Asia / Xiang Biao 83

5. Cambodians Go "Home": Forced Returns and Redisplacement Thirty Years after the American War in Indochina / Sylvia R. Cowan 100

6. Rescue, Return, in Place: Deportees, "Victims," and the Regulation of Indonesian Migration / Johan Lindquist 122

7. Return of the Global Indian: Software Professionals and the Worlding of Bangalore / Carol Upadhya 141

8. Ethnicizing, Capitalizing, and Nationalizing: South Korea and the Returning Korean Chinese / Melody Chia-Wen Lu and Shen Hyunjoon 162

Contributors 179

References 183

Index 205

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5531-1 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5516-8
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