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postgraduate thesis: The politics of linguistic normalization in 21st century Taiwan : ethnicity, national identity, and the party system

TitleThe politics of linguistic normalization in 21st century Taiwan : ethnicity, national identity, and the party system
Authors
Issue Date2014
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Dupré, J. F.. (2014). The politics of linguistic normalization in 21st century Taiwan : ethnicity, national identity, and the party system. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5204898
AbstractThe consolidation of Taiwanese identity in recent years has been accompanied by two interrelated paradoxes: a continued language shift from local Taiwanese languages to Mandarin Chinese, and the increasing subordination of the Hoklo majority culture in ethnic policy and public identity discourses. While the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) gradually relaxed its Mandarin-only policy following democratization in the late 1980s, the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) made little change to Taiwan’s language regime during its two-term presidency (2000-2008). Rejecting proposals for the co-officialization of the Hoklo majority language (generally referred to as Taiwanese), the DPP government instead vainly put forward proposals for the recognition of all of Taiwan’s languages (Mandarin, Hoklo, Hakka, as well as the languages of 12 Aboriginal groups) as equal national languages. What explains the limited success of Taiwanese language normalization and the marginalization of the Hoklo majority culture in the process of Taiwanese identity consolidation? This dissertation tries to answer this question through an analysis of the Taiwanese linguistic normalization movement, with a focus on local language education, standardization, and official recognition. This research is based on extensive fieldwork including in-depth elite interviews, analysis of legislative records and official documents, and quantitative analysis of large-N survey data. This dissertation is framed as a response to David Laitin’s work on linguistic normalization, which regards language and identity shifts as overlapping phenomena and posits that nationalist leaders have an incentive to promote a shift to local culture so as to create a cultural basis for political autonomy claims. In contrast, this dissertation argues that Taiwan’s counterintuitive ethnolinguistic outcomes are largely attributable to the ethnic structure of the party cleavage, itself based on national identity. In fact, the ethnolinguistic distribution of the electorate across cleavage categories has led parties to adopt distinctive strategies in an attempt to broaden their ethnic support bases. On the one hand, the DPP and KMT have strived to play down their respective de-Sinicization and Sinicization ideologies as well as their Hoklo and Chinese ethnocultural cores, a strategy I refer to as ethnonationalist underbidding. On the other hand, parties have competed to portray themselves as the legitimate protectors of minority interests by promoting Hakka and Aboriginal cultures, a strategy I term minority-oriented outbidding. The concomitant logics of underbidding and outbidding have discouraged parties from appealing to ethnonationalist rhetoric, prompting them to express their antagonistic ideologies of Taiwanese and Chinese nationalism through typically liberal conceptions of language rights. The fact that Taiwanese nationalism has been centred on the democratic institutions of the Republic of China rather than Taiwanese ethnocultural distinctiveness has further legitimated the continuation of Mandarin as common language. In addition to providing a comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of the Taiwanese language normalization movement, this dissertation proposes a reassessment of the relationship between national culture and identity by expounding the fundaments of a simple model of cultural regime creation based on cross-cleavage ethnolinguistic distributions, variables that are largely absent in Laitin’s work.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectLinguistics - Political aspects - Taiwan
Dept/ProgramPolitics and Public Administration
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/209619

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorDupré, Jean-Francois-
dc.date.accessioned2015-05-08T23:12:56Z-
dc.date.available2015-05-08T23:12:56Z-
dc.date.issued2014-
dc.identifier.citationDupré, J. F.. (2014). The politics of linguistic normalization in 21st century Taiwan : ethnicity, national identity, and the party system. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5204898-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/209619-
dc.description.abstractThe consolidation of Taiwanese identity in recent years has been accompanied by two interrelated paradoxes: a continued language shift from local Taiwanese languages to Mandarin Chinese, and the increasing subordination of the Hoklo majority culture in ethnic policy and public identity discourses. While the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) gradually relaxed its Mandarin-only policy following democratization in the late 1980s, the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) made little change to Taiwan’s language regime during its two-term presidency (2000-2008). Rejecting proposals for the co-officialization of the Hoklo majority language (generally referred to as Taiwanese), the DPP government instead vainly put forward proposals for the recognition of all of Taiwan’s languages (Mandarin, Hoklo, Hakka, as well as the languages of 12 Aboriginal groups) as equal national languages. What explains the limited success of Taiwanese language normalization and the marginalization of the Hoklo majority culture in the process of Taiwanese identity consolidation? This dissertation tries to answer this question through an analysis of the Taiwanese linguistic normalization movement, with a focus on local language education, standardization, and official recognition. This research is based on extensive fieldwork including in-depth elite interviews, analysis of legislative records and official documents, and quantitative analysis of large-N survey data. This dissertation is framed as a response to David Laitin’s work on linguistic normalization, which regards language and identity shifts as overlapping phenomena and posits that nationalist leaders have an incentive to promote a shift to local culture so as to create a cultural basis for political autonomy claims. In contrast, this dissertation argues that Taiwan’s counterintuitive ethnolinguistic outcomes are largely attributable to the ethnic structure of the party cleavage, itself based on national identity. In fact, the ethnolinguistic distribution of the electorate across cleavage categories has led parties to adopt distinctive strategies in an attempt to broaden their ethnic support bases. On the one hand, the DPP and KMT have strived to play down their respective de-Sinicization and Sinicization ideologies as well as their Hoklo and Chinese ethnocultural cores, a strategy I refer to as ethnonationalist underbidding. On the other hand, parties have competed to portray themselves as the legitimate protectors of minority interests by promoting Hakka and Aboriginal cultures, a strategy I term minority-oriented outbidding. The concomitant logics of underbidding and outbidding have discouraged parties from appealing to ethnonationalist rhetoric, prompting them to express their antagonistic ideologies of Taiwanese and Chinese nationalism through typically liberal conceptions of language rights. The fact that Taiwanese nationalism has been centred on the democratic institutions of the Republic of China rather than Taiwanese ethnocultural distinctiveness has further legitimated the continuation of Mandarin as common language. In addition to providing a comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of the Taiwanese language normalization movement, this dissertation proposes a reassessment of the relationship between national culture and identity by expounding the fundaments of a simple model of cultural regime creation based on cross-cleavage ethnolinguistic distributions, variables that are largely absent in Laitin’s work.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.subject.lcshLinguistics - Political aspects - Taiwan-
dc.titleThe politics of linguistic normalization in 21st century Taiwan : ethnicity, national identity, and the party system-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5204898-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplinePolitics and Public Administration-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5204898-

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