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Representing national identity within urban landscapes: Chinese settler rule, shifting Taiwanese identity, and post-settler Taipei City

Liu, Sung-Ta (2009)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

Academic literature has examined how the transformation of a nation’s state power can give rise to shifts in national identity, and how such shifting identity can be represented in the form of the nation’s changing urban landscape. This thesis investigates that topic in the case of Taiwan, a de facto independent country with almost one hundred years’ experience of ‘colonial’ and then ‘settler’ rule. Both colonial rule and settler rule constitute an outside regime. However, the settler rulers in Taiwan regarded the settled land as their homeland. To secure their supremacy, the settler rulers had to strongly control the political, cultural, and economic interests of the ‘native’ population. Democratisation can be a key factor undermining settler rule. Such a political transition can enable the home population to reclaim state power, symbolising that the nation has entered the post-settler era. This thesis explores how the transition from Japanese colonial rule to Chinese settler rule and then to democratisation gave rise to changes in Taiwanese national identity, and to its reflection in the urban landscape of the capital city, Taipei. The thesis reveals the irony of a transition in which the collapse of settler rule has been unable to drive significant further change in the city’s urban landscape. In other words, the urban landscape of post-settler Taipei City is ‘stuck in transition’. The condition reflects the ambivalence in Taiwanese national identity caused by the unforgettable, yet not really glorious memory of settler rule.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:Centre for Urban and Regional Studies
Subjects:HT Communities. Classes. Races
JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:442
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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