Aihwa Ong. Few recent phenomena have proved as emblematic of our era, and as little understood, as globalization. Are nation-states being transformed by globalization into a single globalized economy? Do global cultural forces herald a postnational millennium? Tying ethnography to structural analysis, Flexible Citizenship explores such questions with a focus on the links between the cultural logics of human action and on economic and political processes within the Asia-Pacific, including the impact of these forces on women and family life. Explaining how intensified travel, communications, and mass media have created a transnational Chinese public, Aihwa Ong argues that previous studies have mistakenly viewed transnationality as necessarily detrimental to the nation-state and have ignored individual agency in the large-scale flow of people, images, and cultural forces across borders.
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Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Flexible Citizenship by Aihwa Ong. Few recent phenomena have proved as emblematic of our era, and as little understood, as globalization. Are nation-states being transformed by globalization into a single globalized economy? Do global cultural forces herald a postnational millennium? Tying ethnography to structural analysis, Flexible Citizenship explores such questions with a focus on the links between the Few recent phenomena have proved as emblematic of our era, and as little understood, as globalization.
Tying ethnography to structural analysis, Flexible Citizenship explores such questions with a focus on the links between the cultural logics of human action and on economic and political processes within the Asia-Pacific, including the impact of these forces on women and family life. Explaining how intensified travel, communications, and mass media have created a transnational Chinese public, Aihwa Ong argues that previous studies have mistakenly viewed transnationality as necessarily detrimental to the nation-state and have ignored individual agency in the large-scale flow of people, images, and cultural forces across borders.
She describes how political upheavals and global markets have induced Asian investors, in particular, to blend strategies of migration and of capital accumulation and how these transnational subjects have come to symbolize both the fluidity of capital and the tension between national and personal identities.
This pioneering investigation of transnational cultural forms will appeal to those in anthropology, globalization studies, postcolonial studies, history, Asian studies, Marxist theory, and cultural studies.
Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions 2. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Flexible Citizenship , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jul 07, April rated it liked it. Another book from my college days that I somehow own but don't recall reading at all.
Was it for my thesis that I purchased this book or was it for a class that I took? I don't know. Its very academic writing didn't allow me to appreciate fully the concepts presented, and our world has shifted much more since it was written so that transnationality is common for so many people living in the U.
Globalization is the standard operating procedure now, people and families do wh Another book from my college days that I somehow own but don't recall reading at all.
Globalization is the standard operating procedure now, people and families do what they need to do to make their money and live their comfortable and sometimes excessive lifestyles. The mighty dollar has priority over democracy. For instance, how are differentiated and competing notions of citizenship in the United States emerging within a dominant frame of American neoliberalism?
Whereas the movements of capital have stimulated immigrant strategies of mobility, many poor Americans are unable to respond in quite the same way and are instead 'staying put' or 'being stuck' in place, especially in rundown ethnic ghettoes.
What are the subjectivities associated with being stuck in particular U. Global capital and population flows have intensified the localization of resident minorities within the reconfigured political economy and have thus reinforced a citizenship patterning of whiteness and blackness in a more institutionalized sense than has been allowed for in studies of race.
Flexibility, migration, and relocations, instead of being coerced or resisted, have become practices to strive for rather than stability.
Here we see the delicate interweaving of female self-discipline, industrial regulation, and consumer manipulation that comes with global capitalism. Using ready-made images that target Asian consumers, corporations engender new needs and desires that socialize Chinese workers to the norms of mass consumption. Despite Deng's call for coastal cities to mimic Hong Kong, 'socialism with Chinese characteristics' represents an attempt to domesticate freewheeling capitalism through state control, and to drive home the idea that capitalism is ultimately intended to increase the power of the Chinese nation-state.
The goal is to significantly raise China's overall standard of living over the course of one hundred years so that the country can escape its developing status and thus strengthen its position with respect to other countries. This aim resonates with the ideological discourses of the ASEAN nations and Taiwan and echoes the earlier message of Meiji Japan, which is that the state must take control of capitalism to strengthen the nation.
I use the term self-orientalization in recognition of such predicaments, but also in recognition of the agency to maneuver and manipulate meanings within different power domains. Statements about Chinese modernity are an amalgam of indigenous ideas, Western concepts, and self-orientalizing representations by Asian leaders. Such formulations of modernity should not come as a surprise since the Asia Pacific region as a geopolitical entity was constructed by Euroamerican imperialism and capitalism.
In the commonsensical view of ethnic succession, recent arrivals from non-Western countries are expected to enter at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder and wait their proper turn to reach middle-class status.
Affluent Asian immigrants who arrive in the country already possessing the economic and social attributes associated with Americans occupying the top ranks of society thus confound the expectation of an orderly ethnic succession; they also call into question the proper location of minorities in the ethno-racial hierarchy. By locating themselves in white suburbs rather than in Chinatown, and by making a living not as restaurant workers but as Pacific Rim executives, well-to-do Asian newcomers breach the spatial and symbolic borders that have disciplined Asian Americans and kept them on the margins of the American nation.
This 'out-of-placeness' of new Asian immigrants reinforces the public anxiety over the so-called thirdworldization of the American city, a term that suggests both economic and ethno-racial heterogeneity, over which white Americans are losing control.
Indirectly, her work on Teso poses the question, How does one account for political consciousness when the material links to capital are so attenuated as to seem invisible to the dominated?
This question suggests the obverse, that is, What happens when the material relations of exploitation are keenly felt and yet are not symbolically linked to a politics of class identity? This is an especially important theme in the contemporary world, where so much of what we take to be reality is complexly mediated by the dynamic flows of images that make all systems of references highly fragmented, destabilized, and not directly connected to the structure of production.
It appears that ideologically speaking, spreading markets and spreading democracy has come to mean practically the same thing for the Unites States. Its logic entails a sustained assault on democratic institutions, such as the welfare state and labor unions, that traditionally serve as countervailing powers vis-a-vis market forces; this produces, in effect, a 'politics of indifference.
Middle-class people who are not dependent on state employment free their government to pursue what Japanese officials have referred to as a 'slash-and-burn' system and French economist Jacques Attali calls 'market dictatorship. While the European model of pastoral care and the welfare state evolved in the context of intense class conflict, the Asian model of pastoral care aims not so much at defusing class conflict as at producing citizens with the human, social, and cultural capital that will allow them to thrive in a global economy.
These are some of the many traditions of liberalism--different rationalities tied to economic growth that stress different 'vital' issues of culture and community--that reflect the respective histories, trajectories, and strategies of nation-states in the global economy.
This selective reception of refugees was an expression of how sovereignty is shaped by a dominant ethnicity and by the nation-state's definition of its desired ethnic composition. Refugees and citizens of undesirable ethnicity are frequently given over to the regulatory power of supranational agencies.
Jun 02, Kristine rated it it was amazing Shelves: research. Nov 08, Manu rated it really liked it. Why is the best political anlaysis written by anthropologists? Ong makes a valuable contribution to the debates on citizenship and globalization. Following from David Harvey's conceptualization of flexible accumulation, Ong contends that the current stage of capitalism is one where flexible accumulation goes hand-in-hand with the geographic mobility of elites.
The impact this mobility has on national sovereignty and development strategies is significant, and political theorists would do well to Why is the best political anlaysis written by anthropologists?
The impact this mobility has on national sovereignty and development strategies is significant, and political theorists would do well to consider her insights. I would recommend reading this book in conjunction with Frictions by Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing. Mar 08, Lance rated it it was ok. Ong has some really interesting ideas, but even though she claims to be taking a bottom-up approach, it seems rather top-down.
I think her arguments would be more compelling if she zoomed in on some more specific communities or "everyday" life. It is important point that she is making about studying the "elite other" rather than just the lower class.
She definitely points out a blind spot in most research. View 1 comment. Feb 16, Anh Le rated it really liked it Shelves: anthropology , cultural-social-theory , diaspora-studies , east-asian-history , postcolonialism.
Spoiler alert: only read this review if you have finished the book as it has been filtered through my analytical insights. True to the recent developments in diasporas and migration scholarship, Aihwa Ong situates the concept in the peculiar practices of overseas Chinese mobility and transnational capital mobilization, arguing for the cultural logics—familial regimes, fraternal capitalism, kinship network formations—that undergirded the making of Asian transnationalism, which arguably explains the shifting of core economic centers in the framework of globalization to East Asia and the Pacific.
In this macro-narrative of global capital developments, Ong argues that the state, as opposed to the postulations of post-colonial theories, never retreated from the scene, but rather developed new strategies to cope with, adapt to, and participate in the process of managing an increasingly mobile populations and unprecedented flows of capital. As globalization became intensified and neoliberal economic policies centered on the US as a global hegemon gained popularity, the Asian states turned more and more creative toward the discursive structure of governance.
The cultural logics of these transnational practices therefore operated from both levels of the individuals and the states as two interpenetrating forces that supported and allowed transnational capitalism to materialize in full force.
Theorizations of citizenship or ethnic identities must therefore investigate critically the discursive juncture at which the Confucian ethos operated as a strategy for capital mobilization and the regime of family also at the heart of this ethos as a tool to build up capital and maintain diasporic networks. In this sense, understanding overseas diasporic Chinese networks provides the strongest counter-argument to the hegemonic discourse of modernity as well as the totalizing effects of globalization.
Nov 20, Caressa Franklin rated it really liked it. Solid read, definitely outdated a bit, as is the nature of such studies. I wish there was a bit more in-depth ethnographic description, with more focus on a few specific individuals. But for the larger scale, it was perfect!
Feb 08, Robyn is currently reading it. This book is heavy, as in I need to read sentences aloud to understand them. Nominalizations and all that.
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Flexible Citizenship: The Cultural Logics of Transnationality
Aihwa Ong. Aihwa Ong's Flexible Citizenship: The Cultural Logics of Transnationality intensifies the decade-long "rebirth" of diaspora and transnational studies with provocative and far-reaching insights. Grappling with the meanings of citizenship in late capitalism, Ong coins the term "flexible citizenship" to refer to the. Far from being constructed only out of the identity politics or agency enacted by Chinese subjects, these cultural logics and interrelated economic rationalities are shaped by the nation-state, the market, and the family. Drawing on the Foucaultian notion of governmentality, Ong argues that Chinese subjects' "flexible citizenship" is constituted by these interrelated regimes in the contemporary world.
Forgot your login information? In: Encyclopedia of Diversity in Education. Edited by: James A. Ong, A. Flexible citizenship.