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Taiwan's subjectivity and national narrations: towards acomparative perspective with Ireland

Shih, Fang-Long (2012) Taiwan's subjectivity and national narrations: towards acomparative perspective with Ireland. Taiwan in Comparative Perspective, 4. pp. 6-33. ISSN 1752-7732

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This paper looks at how Taiwan has been imagined or narrated as a national subject from the perspective of different nationalisms, using Ireland in the context of the colonized Other as a comparator. As with Irish nationalist projects, the Chinese nationalism of the KMT and the Taiwanese nationalism of the DPP were and are complex phenomena, with ethnic, cultural, and civic dimensions. However, in the cases of the KMT and of the DPP the civic dimension was either suspended or remained under-developed. This paper takes a critical view, focusing on ethnic and cultural nationalism to explore how the KMT and the DPP narrated their respective national imaginaries. The first framework examined shows how Taiwan was narrated as part of China through a particular form of Chineseness, which was imposed on Taiwan by the KMT. The second framework analyses how Taiwan was re-narrated through Taiwanization discourses as a national subject in its own right; in particular, through a post-modern primordialist turn by which the DPP used Taiwanization to stress identity politics. Critical interpretations here make use of a comparative perspective, re-examining notions of national subjectivity in juxtaposition with Ireland, whose own national imaginaries have, like those of Taiwan, also emphasized ethnicity and culture. The paper concludes by suggesting a third framework, emphasizing the need to pay attention to the cosmopolitan processes of mobilization and globalization. These can help us to reconsider Taiwan and Ireland as network societies that can be narrated in the light of relationships and connections through which they have been constituted as places.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 Taiwan Research Programme, London School of Economics
Divisions: Asia Centre
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2013 14:00
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2021 23:09

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