chapter  6
14 Pages

Transnation

ByBILL ASHCROFT

In February 2008, a month when all Chinese travel back to their families for the Lunar New Year celebration, more than one million migrant workers were stranded by snowstorms. Waiting for days at train stations for the possibility of a rare train to their home village, many of them did not move from the queue to eat or relieve themselves. This number of people is more than the populations of a third of the member states of the United Nations. But they were migrants and they were inside their own country. Forced to live and work in a space between ‘home’ and the nation-state, they were now stranded. They were, to all intents and purposes, a diaspora. They were away from home, within the nation, and this fact may force us to rethink the concept of the nation-state.