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Nationalism and Self-determination: The Identity Politics in Taiwan

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This paper gives a chronological analysis of the dynamic interplay of endogenous and exogenous forces that have created the complexity of identity politics in contemporary Taiwanese society. It not only elaborates the various versions of identity emerging in Taiwan's politics, but also illustrates the chronological characteristics of identity politics present at each stage of Taiwan's developmental process since 1949. In conclusion, it comes back to the question of Taiwan independence, or put it another way, the imperative of the denial of a Chinese identity. Above all, this paper argues that lying behind all the obsessions for a new Taiwan-centered identity is primarily the impulse to fight for a sovereignty that can guarantee an unconstrained international space, rather than a nationalist motive to cut off all the cultural and racial identification with China.

Affiliations: 1: Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

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