A transnational outlook on cross-strait studies: case studies and new research approaches
During the last thirty years, relations between China and Taiwan have grown and intensified on a large scale. Flows of people, commodities, information, capital, technology, ideas, norms, and culture daily cross the Taiwan Strait. This engenders new challenges for scholars to understand the manifold dimensions of everyday contact between mainland Chinese and Taiwanese (Schubert et al. 2021). At the same time, considering the complexity of the cross-strait reality, it urges to identify the epistemological and methodological tools to apprehend it. The field of cross-strait studies has so far welcomed heterogeneous scholarship contributions in social sciences which looked at the social, economic, commercial, political, cultural, and emotional practices, norms and identities which derive from the interactions between China and Taiwan. However, the perimeter of this research field and its epistemological significance are difficult to conceptualize. Dominant approaches have so far produced an understanding of the empirical and epistemological space of interaction between China and Taiwan in terms of ‘cross-strait’ (liang’an 兩岸), neglecting to some extent the points of junction and of friction which mutually produce the field. Considering the ‘contact zone’ (Schubert et al. 2021: 167) between the two sides of the Taiwan strait, both in empirical and methodological terms, a ‘trans-strait’ (kua’an 跨岸) approach may represent a novel and helpful lens to capture the specific cross-strait reality engendered by the long-term and ramifying connections and exchange between the mainland Chinese and the Taiwanese. In this summer edition of the Taiwan Colloquium, we invite scholars to engage into this discussion. What is – or can be-a transnational approach to cross-strait studies? How can it help to understand the mutability and complexity of the social relationships between Taiwanese and mainland Chinese? By taking a kua-an perspective, through empirical case studies, we aim at collectively interpret the human dimension of the daily interactions and lived experiences produced and performed by heterogeneous actors and communities across the Taiwan Strait.
Examining the Green Party Taiwan (GPT) since its establishment through the aftermath of the most recent national elections in January 2020, this book focuses on Taiwan’s most important movement party over the last two and a half decades. Despite its limited electoral impact, its leaders have played a critical role in a range of social movements, including anti-nuclear and LGBT rights campaigns.
Plotting the party’s evolution in electoral politics as well as its engagement with the global green movement, this volume analyses key patterns of party change in electoral campaign appeals, organisation and its human face. The second half of the volume concentrates on explaining both the party’s electoral impact and why the party has adjusted ideologically and organisationally over time. Based on a wide range of material collected, including focus groups, interviews and political communication data, the research relies heavily on analysis of campaign material and the voices of party activists and also considers other Green Parties, such as the splinter Trees Party and GPT-Social Democratic Alliance.
Applying a wide range of theoretical frameworks to plot and explain small party development, this book will appeal both to students and scholars of Taiwan’s politics and civil society but also to readers with an interest in small parties and particularly environmental parties and movements.
As Taiwan lacks an external voting system, Taiwanese residing abroad who want to exercise their civic rights cannot vote from abroad but must travel back to cast their ballots in their registered domiciles in Taiwan. This institutional absence notwithstanding, Taiwanese politicians habitually solicit support from the overseas electorate, asking them to return home to vote. Further, despite considerably high voting costs, many Taiwanese residing abroad continue to levy substantial financial and time resources to participate in homeland elections. This phenomenon raises a series of unanswered—yet critical—questions regarding the reasons behind the continued institutional absence of an external voting system and the ways how Taiwanese emigrants and politicians deal with it. In this lecture I present preliminary findings of a new research project on what I refer to as the unresolved issue of equal suffrage in contemporary democratic Taiwan. I explain how Taiwan’s relationship with China affects debates on introducing a form of absentee voting system that still excludes emigrant voters. Further, by focusing on the 2020 Presidential Elections, I unpick the processes, actors, and tactics of transnational voter mobilization to solicit the support of this very electorate.
Julia Marinaccio is currently a postdoc fellow at the Department of Foreign Languages (Chinese Studies), University of Bergen. Her research lies at the intersection of comparative politics and political theory, focusing on environmental governance and political transnationalism in China and Taiwan. She lived in Taiwan between 2010 and 2013, worked at the University of Vienna and Freie Universität Berlin. In 2020 she was nominated for a postdoc fellowship at the Institute of Political Science, Academia Sinica, from which she had to withdraw due to the ongoing pandemic. Between June and September 2021, she will stay as a guest researcher at the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica, working on her current project: “Voices from Taiwanese Emigrant Voters: The Unresolved Issue of Equal Suffrage in Contemporary Taiwan.”