The unexpected resurgence: Ethnic assimilation and competition in Taiwan, 1945-1988.
KeywordsTaiwan -- Ethnic relations.
Taiwan -- Social conditions -- 1945-
Taiwan -- Politics and government -- 1945-
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractTaiwan recently witnessed a sudden increase of opposition political activities among the Taiwanese. Given that the social, economic, political and cultural developments Taiwan experienced during the past four decades were expected to facilitate assimilation between the Mainlanders and the Taiwanese, the Taiwanese insurgence at this time was somewhat unexpected. To account for this development, this dissertation examines: (1) the causes and pattern of ethnic assimilation between the two groups; and (2) the connection of ethnic assimilation and the recent insurgence. The central thesis of this dissertation is that development of the opposition movement after 1986 was a result of a successful ethnic mobilization among the Taiwanese who rose to request for renegotiating the ethnic distribution of political power. The ethnic mobilization was facilitated by the change in the external environment of the movement, which included: (1) the increase of regime permissiveness, (2) the emerging opportunities of political competition, and (3) the emerging regional persistence of ethnic differences. Ironically, all three elements were caused by the pattern of ethnic assimilation. The main body consists of six chapters. Chapter 1 raises the question of the unexpected resurgence among the Taiwanese and proposes a framework of ethnic mobilization to its explanation. Chapter 2 provides a historical overview of the formation of the two ethnic groups, and patterns of intergroup relation during the past four decades. Chapter 3 examines two dimensions of cultural assimilation among the Taiwanese: language shift and identification with China. Using a survey data set collected by the Global Views Monthly in 1987, chapter 3 shows that the two major elements of ethnic differences were well preserved among the less-educated Taiwanese who reside outside the northern region of Taiwan. Chapter 4 investigates the alleged ethnic discrimination in the labor market by analyzing a data set coded from the Managers of the Creditable Enterprises in the R.O.C.. A pattern of ethnic assimilation similar to chapter 3 is found. Chapter 5 examines the various forms of participation in the opposition movement to test the ethnic mobilization argument. The development of the opposition after 1986 was found to begin in more assimilated areas and rapidly spread to the less assimilated areas through the tactic of ethnic mobilization. Chapter 6 draws a brief conclusion of what has been found.