Differentiating Sedimented from Modular Transnationalism: The View from East Asia

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The dominant literature on transnationalism regards it as an alternative way of framing immigration, but the a priori exclusion of labor migrants from the scope of migrant transnationalism is untenable. Evidence from East Asia suggests that labor migrants, who are compelled by the prevailing policy regime in the region to become sojourners, engage in what can be called modular transnationalism. Labor migrants are East Asia's prototypical transmigrants when seen in light of the rising trend of immigration via marriage migration, in which case transnationalism can be highly constrained by the state and cultural politics. The discussion draws mainly, but not exclusively, from the transnational practices of migrants from the Philippines.