This essay examines the growth of transnational culture in East Asia, drawing heavily on the example of Chinese cinema. It notes the growth of a variety of transborder-based Chinese cinema cultures, ranging from blockbuster productions to independent documentary culture, and argues that similar phenomena can be found in other parts of East Asia and with other arts and media. Until now, the tendency has been to tag such phenomena as “transnational” without further elaboration. This essay argues that the time has come for a more rigorous interrogation of the transnational. It argues that the transnational order should be distinguished from both the earlier international order of nation-states and from the ideology of globalisation. Further, it argues that the cultural formations that grow under the logic of transnational and flexible production operate not as part of a stable national system but according to the contingent and fluid logic of assemblage.
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