chapter  Chapter 4
18 Pages

Global capitalism, immanent borders, and corporeal citizenship

WithCharles T. Lee

Current official and popular discourse on ‘global citizenship’ is unable to resolve the immanent borders of liberal citizenship that perpetually replicate and reproduce social exclusion and abjection. However, such immanent exclusion also generates immanent struggles that register what Étienne Balibar (2004) calls the ‘permanent reinvention’ of citizenship in the global capitalist landscape. Drawing on my fieldwork on the Asian restaurant industry in Southern California, I examine the intricate dynamics under global capitalism as Asian and Latinx immigrants working in the industry jostle between the immanent borders of citizenship that insidiously exclude them and their everyday attempts to reinvent and revive their citizenship by improvising their own ‘citizenly contributions’ and ‘nonexistent rights’ through ethnic culinary commerce. Naming this phenomenon ‘corporeal citizenship’, I explore the benefits and limits of such material, affective, and biological dimensions of inclusion, belonging, and ‘rights’ that these immigrant workers actualize through everyday commercial sites like ethnic restaurants.