This article aims to examine the dynamics of the East Asian political economy and the new regional environments over the past two decades. It puts forth two main propositions. First, the predominant nation–state framework in analyzing the political economy of the East Asian region, while remaining indispensable in its own right, has become inadequate to interpret the profound transformations resultant from heightened pace of cross-border movements of people, practices, ideas and capital. The geo-cultural concept of “Transnational Asia” is proposed as an alternative devise to fill in the gap neglected by the mainstream nation–state-oriented literature. Second, by going beyond the conventional state–society dichotomy and the rigid theoretical divide between statism and institutionalism, I argue that transnational network and regional governance serve as bridges to these divides and as useful analytical tools in deciphering the new dynamics of the East Asian political economy. In its extensive and multilayered interactions with transnational networks, the developmental state has been increasingly supplemented by the networked state which operates both within and without the nation–state boundaries through a variety of interconnected mechanisms.
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Research for this paper is funded by the Singapore Ministry of Education AcRF Tier-2 Grant entitled “Transnational Knowledge Transfer and Dynamic Governance in Comparative Perspective” (MOE2016-T2-02-87) and a NTU Strategici Initiative (SG200: Heritage, Identity, and Progress), which are gratefully acknowledged. The author would also like to thank Ma Sirui for her capable research assistance in the final stage of the preparation for submission as well as editor of the East Asian Community Review and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. The author is solely responsible for the views and any remaining errors in this essay.
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Liu, H. Transnational Asia and Regional Networks: Toward a New Political Economy of East Asia. East Asian Community Rev 1, 33–47 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1057/s42215-018-0003-7
- East Asia
- Transnational Asia
- Developmental state
- Networked state