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Title: Self and other relations in international relations : the case of Taiwan
Author: Lee, Jyung-yi
ISNI:       0000 0004 2669 8996
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis aims to bring poststructuralist discourse theory to both International Relations (lR) and the study of national identity in Taiwan. The unification/independence problematique in Taiwan is conceptualised as two responses to the ordering of the modern political world. As such, while identity formation and contestation take place mostly at the domestic level, they nevertheless involve an international dimension, as the sense of Self that any political community assumes only has its meaning in the presence of the Other. To study the dynamics of identity construction, this thesis takes Laclau and Mouffe's discourse theory (1985) as the framework, as it provides strong explanatory powers and valuable implications to the worldwide problem of identity and difference, of which the Taiwan case is one example. This thesis takes 'democracy', 'history- culture', and 'economic development' as three case studies. The exercise of democracy has generated a sense of Self amongst Taiwan people, but it also makes possible social relations to be reorganised in a dichotomised way, rendering the relationship between unification and independence one of enmity. In the cultural domain, the belief of China as an ancient, continuous and homogeneous cultural entity, a view first generated in China's encounter with the West in the modem era and then promoted by the nationalist government (the KMT), constitutes 'Chinese/ness' as a major source of cultural representation, and hinders alternative discourse(s). In the economic domain, Taiwan's economic achievements have made 'development' a way of self-labelling and an incontestable quest. This provides the unification discourse an external reason for integrating with China, and constraints the independence one to argue otherwise but to resort to ideas of security and autonomy. Finally, it is argued that the binary logic of unification and independence is an instance of undecidability, which calls for making ethico-political judgements that are always provisional.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available