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Harrison offers a new, critical approach to understanding the formation of Taiwan's identity. It applies contemporary social theory and historiography to a wealth of detail on Taiwanese politics, culture and society.
"In this insightful book, Mark Harrison offers a fresh synthesis of the works of several prominent social theorists to generate a set of penetrating questions to consider in the study of Taiwan specifically and 'identity' issues more generally. Harrison masterfully keeps several balls in the air simultaneously: a history of Taiwan, a history of the study of Taiwan, and a history of the concepts of 'Taiwan' and 'Taiwan identity.' He helps to bring the study of Taiwan into the larger discourse about identity and nationalism." - Thomas Gold, Associate Dean of International and Area Studies, University of California, Berkeley"Harrison interrogates the language of Taiwan Studies and examines different processes of identity formation now underway in Taiwan. He engages with the diverse narratives aimed at legitimizing a ‘Taiwanese’ identity in exciting and unprecedented ways, offering a rich and nuanced account of historical and contemporary contestations over the status of the island and the identity of its inhabitants. His argument against positivistic treatments of cross-straits relations provides a new critical perspective on the vexed question of Taiwan’s status in a book that provides a self-reflexive and meticulously researched response to a range of important questions. It is nothing short of a radical theoretical intervention in Taiwan studies that will generate new questions and new directions for inquiry in that field." - Gloria Davies, Chinese Studies, Monash University, Australia"Scholars concerned with Asia should note the name of Mark Harrison: for here is his first book, a wide-awake and mold-breaking contribution that insists there is no 'real' Taiwan because 'Taiwan' and 'Taiwanese' are power-ridden terms caught up in a life-and-death political process of perpetual inscription." - John Keane, Professor of Politics, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin"By analyzing the course of Taiwan's constant name changing, Harrison's work will help facilitate and enrich the current study of Taiwanese rise to world stature... Recommended." - CHOICE
EpistemologiesExplaining National IdentityLegitimizing TaiwanElaborating TaiwanWriting TaiwanNew NarrativesNew EpistemologiesNew Taiwanese
MARK HARRISON is Research Fellow in Chinese Studies at the Centre for the Study of Democracy at the University of Westminster, UK.