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Permanent Alien Residence: On Reading Baudrillard in Taiwan

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I am a US citizen working as an anthropologist (research and teaching) in Taipei. I live and work in Taiwan primarily because it allows me to work on local/globalizing and global/localizing popular culture simultaneously from the ethnographic inside and outside. On the one hand I have become an active member of the interpretive and creative communities I study, yet on the other, my foreigner status is irreducible and I am constantly reminded of the differences between my perspectives and those of my informants. For most anthropologists, those we represent and those to whom we represent them are different, and to be ethical we have to acknowledge their differences. But now the groups of my informants, students, colleagues and readers all overlap to varying degrees. In this paper, I will discuss the problems of addressing a public of informant-interlocutors – how to construct a “we” that can engage with shared problematics while recognizing the different positionalities of “I” and “you.” Trying to create such a “we” has forced me to challenge disciplinary boundaries, and to ponder what the lived experiences of globalization in the post-industrial non-West mean for the politics of both ethnography and critical theory.

Affiliations: 1: Academia Sinica, E-mail:


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