The Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity

Shu-Mei Shih

in Visuality and Identity

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780520224513
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940154 | DOI:
The Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity

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This chapter begins with a series of anecdotal observations as a way to comment on Taiwan's haphazard, fragmentary, disorganized, and unstable state of cultural and economic relations with China, which underscores the difficult question of identity for Taiwan. Amid calls to bid “farewell to China,” as well as considerable success in reconstructing local history and culture in Taiwan in its particularity, the question of identity in Taiwan continues to be intimately imbricated with China. Ambiguity surrounds Taiwan's economic, cultural, and political relations with China to the extent that the notion of “Taiwan identity” as such must be flexible. The chapter offers a selective genealogy of the trope of “mainland China” in Taiwan's cultural discourses at large, and television travel programs in particular.

Keywords: Taiwan; mainland; Taiwan identity; China; political relations

Chapter.  8455 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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