Using the city of Irvine, California, as its case study, this article connects modern globalization to the rise of a post-industrial knowledge economy, demonstrating how immigration and transnational capital flows have worked to transform metropolitan America, particularly in western states like California. In the Irvine context, Asian immigration and Asian corporate investment were particularly important in transforming the city's institutional and commercial life. Yet Irvine's Asians were not the only important transformative agents. The community's white residents were just as instrumental, facilitating and generally embracing the changes the Asian newcomers brought. The article thus demonstrates that the contemporary era of globalization has been directed and given its meaning at a localized, grass-roots level as much as it has been by national and international elites.

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