chapter  6
14 Pages

Negotiating the Meaning of Citizenship: Chinese Academics in the Transnational Space


An increased transnational fl ow of people, ideas, images, technologies, and monies is one of the marked features of contemporary globalization (Appadurai 1996). These fl ows have broken the physical boundaries of nationstates, shrunk the distances between people around the world, and obscured the links between the state and its citizens. As Sassen (2002) observes, in a world of mass migration, global commoditization, and destabilizing of national state-centered hierarchies of power, territorial sovereignty has become increasingly decoupled from citizenship practices and identities, as well as from discourses of loyalty and national attachment. The literature on transnational migration and fl exible citizenship has suggested that people are able to live simultaneously in more than one nation-state and have multiple senses of belonging and affi liation (Ong 1999; Bosniak 2000; Levitt and Glick Schiller 2004). Thus, the assumption that there is a oneto-one relationship between territory, sovereignty, identity, and citizenship can no longer be held. This requires a new explanation of citizenship and of the way that people reimagine identities and boundaries in the increasingly globalized world.