The Role of the State in Transnational Migrant Identity Formation: A “Uniquely Singapore” Experience?

  • Selina LimEmail author
Part of the International Perspectives on Migration book series (IPMI, volume 2)


This chapter discusses the intersections between the nation-state and Singaporean transmigrant identity formation. It addresses the issue that until recently, scholarship in transnational migration has underestimated the role played by the state, believing that the development of transnational communities would inevitably lead to the withering of states and state power. However, the extent to which migrants are able to carry out their activities in transnational arenas hinges on the politics and migration policies of the sending and receiving countries. Some scholars point out that we cannot talk about transnational identities without acknowledging the presence of sending and receiving states that make this geographical mobility possible. The chapter examines this political dimension in the formation of the identifications of Singaporean transmigrants in Perth, Australia. It shows that personal history with Singapore and personal feelings about the nation-state remain an integral part of Singaporean transmigrants’ identifications, despite having lived away for many years. It also explains that Singaporean government’s relationships with its homegrown talent residing overseas help cultivate an ‘extraterritorial’ sense of national identity. I conclude with the observation suggesting that the coexistence of the nation-state and transmigrants reflects the larger themes of nationalism and globalization.


Public Housing Home Ownership Material Environment Stable Sense Ontological Security 
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Copyright information

© Springer Netherlands 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Teaching and Learning CentreSIM UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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