IICS

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The Crisis of Identity Politics in the Rise of a New Greater China: Its Historical Formation and Future Possibilities

The Crisis of Identity Politics in the Rise of a New Greater China: Its Historical Formation and Future Possibilities

Allen Chun, Institute of Social Research and Cultural Studies, National Chiao Tung University


The research investigates the demise of “Greater China” and the renaissance of an even greater Chinese nationalism, which has potentially reshaped trends of identity politics in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. This diverging cultural dualism is at the surface level the result of changes in a deeper geopolitics. The birth of so-called capitalism with Chinese characteristics in recent years to some extent was a product of expansion by large Taiwanese and Hong Kong enterprises. However, the political collusion between Chinese nationalism and corporate capitalism is most evident in post-handover Hong Kong (and Macau). The Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement, which ignited widespread protest, poses a similar threat to Taiwan’s future. What exactly is the crisis of Greater Chinese capitalism? What concrete critical role can cultural resistance play? I think the question must be analyzed at different levels: The collusive relations between Greater Chinese capitalism and nationalism; the historical paradoxes in Hong Kong’s post-colonialism; the political contradictions of Taiwan’s ethnic indigenization and imagined community; Macau’s casino capitalism and the challenges of a cultural critical theory. Although Hong Kong and Taiwan have engendered similar cultural dualisms, their societal and political formations are different. Thus, the strategic effects of cultural critique in each context are also different. I argue that what we need are new strategies of identity politics; they must be grounded within a deeper understanding of practical local geopolitics. This geopragmatics represents an open, multiple approach to political practice and also represents an alternative critical contribution to postcolonial theory.