(Im)mobile precarity in the Asia-Pacific

Fran Martin*, John N. ERNI, Audrey Yue

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


If on a global scale, our late-modern era is marked by intensifying mobilities of many kinds, then Asia as a geo-cultural region exemplifies this trend in particularly forceful ways, with large mobile populations including permanent migrants, refugees, international students, labour migrants, young travelers, as well as well-developed cross-border networks of mobile media technologies, products, talents, and finances. Our starting point in this article is the idea that these intensified mobilities sketched are transforming people’s experiences of everyday life and subjectivity in Asia and beyond. The increased regionwide ‘mobilisation’ of economic, social and cultural life seems likely to transform people’s senses of place and movement; experiences of labour; everyday affective and embodied sense of self; gendered, sexed, raced and classed subjectivities; visual and media cultures; youth cultures; cultures of consumption, and more. This raises a plethora of theoretical and empirical questions for a regionally focussed cultural studies. How frictionless are these intensifying flows: which borders and blockages mould the new, transnational experiential geographies that are taking shape? Which populations are advantaged by increased mobility, and which minoritised? What new inequalities emerge as a result of intensifying mobilities–and how do people live with, resist, and creatively negotiate these inequalities at the micro-level of everyday practice? And what will ‘Asia’ come to mean in the emergent reconfigurations of place, geography and identity being wrought by intensifying mobilities? In order to lay the conceptual groundwork for the special issue, this article begins by tracing the interconnections between three of our key terms–(im)mobilities, precarities, and borders–in conversation with the relevant theoretical scholarship on these concepts across a range of disciplinary fields. This leads to the theorisation of a new concept that articulates these connections: (im)mobile precarity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)895-914
Number of pages20
JournalCultural Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Asia-Pacific
  • borders
  • capital
  • media
  • mobility
  • Precarity


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