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As Borders Bend

Transnational Spaces on the Pacific Rim

Xiangming Chen

As do other mighty forces such as wars, nationalist aspirations, and the shifting courses of great rivers, globalization changes the world's borders by bending them out of shape and creating new transnational spaces. State political boundaries no longer draw the definitive line in people's lives they once did. Borders continue to contain self-described national populations and national activities, but the penetration of economic globalization via growing cross-border trade, investment, and resurgence of myriad regional ethnic groups is pushing and stretching the limits of borders into both interactive spaces and contested terrains. Indeed, new power centers with their own identities are springing out of once politically trivial and economically marginal landscapes. While the terrorist attacks of 2001 and the SARS outbreak of 2003 prompted states to tighten border controls, their efforts amount to only a temporary reversal of a powerful long-term trend toward more open borders and the interactive transnational spaces that openness fosters.

This innovative book examines the complexities of de-bordering and re-bordering through a structured comparison of seven transborder subregions along the western Pacific Rim and an extended comparative analysis of the U.S.-Mexico border and several European border regions. Xiangming Chen offers a synthetic explanation for the complex and diverse processes and outcomes of economic growth, social transformation, infrastructure development, and urban landscapes in the new transnational spaces around the porous and mutated borders on the Pacific Rim and beyond.
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 360Size: 6 x 9
978-0-7425-0093-8 • Hardback • February 2005 • $130.00 • (£85.00)
978-0-7425-0094-5 • Paperback • January 2005 • $49.00 • (£32.95)
978-0-7425-7081-8 • eBook • February 2005 • $47.99 • (£32.95)
Xiangming Chen is dean and director of the Center for Urban and Global Studies, Trinity College.
Part I: Bending Borders and Emerging Transnational Spaces
Chapter 1: Transborder Dynamics in a Global Era: Situating the Asia-Pacific Transborder Subregions
Chapter 2: The Asia-Pacific Transborder Subregions: The Phenomenon, Historical Backdrop, and Conceptualization
Chapter 3: From Different Perspectives to an Integrated Framework: A Synthetic Explanation
Part II: Diversity among Three East Asian Cases
Chapter 4: Binding Porous Borders: The Greater Southeast China Subregion
Chapter 5: Bridging Ocean Boundaries: The Bohai/Yellow Sea Subregion
Chapter 6: Spanning Socialist and Post-Socialist Borders: The Greater Tumen Subregion and Beyond
Part III: Comparisons, Generalizations, and Implications
Chapter 7: Four Cases across Southeast Asia
Chapter 8: Variations between the Pacific and the Atlantic
Chapter 9: Re-bordering Transnational Spaces: Theoretical Contributions and Practical Challenges
As Borders Bend is an important book about regionalism in Asia. . . . The breadth and systematic nature of this book will make it attractive for many social scientists who, in teaching or research, want to cover globalization, social capital, spatial reorganization, and regionalism in Asia. It offers useful material on social factors behind economic development.
Gilbert Rozman, Princeton University; American Journal of Sociology

A brilliant deciphering of the meaning and agency of borders. Chen shows us how the decentering of state power enables border regions to emerge from the shadow of capital city regions. This in turn produces a whole new research agenda on the increasing complexity of the interaction among borders, transnationality, and the scattering of state functions.
Saskia Sassen, author of The Global City

A valuable and timely contribution to the burgeoning literature on border studies and transnationalism in general and border regions in the Asia-Pacific in particular. . . . In a bold and ground-breaking move, Chen brings together cases of 'de-bordering' and 're-bordering' for integrated and innovative documentation and explanation. . . . Informative, comprehensive, comparative, and up-to-date.
Eurasian Geography and Economics

A clear elaboration and analysis of the emerging trends of a Chinacentric Asia-Pacific region and China's current global positioning. Chen's work is a major contribution to the fields of international political economy and transborder development studies. . . . In an age of globalization, where complexity, uncertainty, and hybridity abound, Xiangming Chen has done a remarkable job in charting the trajectories of borders bending.
Contemporary Sociology

Chen's book is a landmark statement drawing on examples from East and Southeast Asia. . . . Viewing these interplays and reworkings at borders offers methodical originality. . . . [The book] deserves a very wide readership.
James D. Sidaway, University of Amsterdam; Environment And Planning A: Intl Journal Of Urban And Regional Research

A highly original enquiry into the formation and evolution of trans-border regions in the global economy. Accessibly written and richly researched, the book is an important contribution to the literature on urban and regional development, international political economy, economic geography, and global studies.
Henry Wai-chung Yeung, National University of Singapore

Chen's ambitious book is interesting because it uses a complex framework to make sense of a broad range of very different factors and experiences. The book is well organized and well written.
Alan Klima, University of California at Davis; Journal of Asian Studies

One of the most significant contributions to the field of border region studies of the last few years. . . . This is a book for graduate students and border scholars that will be discussed in future works on trans-border regions and will impact our understanding of their transformations.
Journal Of Borderlands Studies

An interesting and detailed book that has pursued and deepened research on growth triangles.
Urban Affairs Review

An informed analysis of an emerging pattern of local and regional development in the world. Both students and researchers in sociology, geography, urban studies, economics, politics, development studies and Asia-Pacific area studies would find it informative, stimulating and useful. Xiangming Chen has successfully shown how the global and the local have shaped the de-bordering and re-bordering processes in the contemporary world.
Social Transformation In Chinese Societies

This book seeks to improve the understanding of the impact of globalization on regions through a careful, comprehensive and comparative study of border regions in Asia-Pacific. It is ambitious, theoretically informed and empirically rich. . . . This book stands as a major contribution to studies of globalization and regionalism.
International Journal Of Urban and Regional Research

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