chapter  2
The myth of the controllability of difference: labour migration, transnational communities and state strategies in the Asia-Pacific region
BySTEPHEN CASTLES
Pages 21

To speak of ‘transnational communities’ implies taking the ‘national’ as a given. The concept of transnationalism only has meaning in a world divided into nation-states. This leads to two paradoxes, one global and the other peculiar to the Asia-Pacific region. The global paradox is that transnationalism is a relatively new, emerging paradigm, whose discourses are clearly and consciously linked to globalization – a process that many argue weakens the nation-state. The AsiaPacific paradox is that, although many states have roots that go back to great monarchies or empires of antiquity, the nation-state as a dominant political form is quite recent and is often still in the process of formation. Young post-colonial states are trying to define national belonging and identity in a context not experienced by older nation-states in their period of formation: the context of globalization, mobile populations and erosion of national boundaries.