AN EXPLORATION OF TAIWANESE ADOLESCENT CROSS-STRAIT TRANSMIGRATION, EDUCATION, AND IDENTIFICATION

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Date
2015-02
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[Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University
Abstract
This dissertation explores the identification of Taiwanese adolescents with Taiwan and/or China as a process and outcome of cross-Strait transmigration. Given their explicit or implicit identification with Taiwan, and their need to accommodate Chinese social norms, transmigrant youth are identified as "third culture kids," not belonging fully to either culture but to an in-between status and location that they have been forced to negotiate. From political, societal, and cultural perspectives, this dissertation analyzes how identity is legitimized, contested, and negotiated through the dynamic interplay among institutional sources of power such as the state and schools, public discourses on cross-Strait relations, social interactions among individuals, and individual subjectivity. Drawing on data from a one-year multi-sited ethnographic study in both Mainland China and Taiwan, this dissertation reveals the lived experiences of Taiwanese transmigrant youth by addressing political and ideological challenges, disparity of social norms and status, and cultural challenges and opportunities they encounter in their large social and educational ecology composed of family, school, community, and cross-Strait societies. The daily identification practices and performances of these young Taiwanese transmigrants shape an integrated and collective Taiwanese identity closely connected to a strong awareness of and response to cultural, political and normative differences between themselves and the Chinese they come to know and interact with on the Mainland; their respect for their host country is generally limited to its economic power. Transmigrant youths show diverse individual differences in their identification with Taiwan and China as seen in their selective assimilation, accommodation, and resistance, which are unsettled and changing. The complexities behind their identification with Taiwan are reflected in their shifting use of languages and behaviors based on varied circumstances that can be characterized as expressions of political defensive identity, differentiated identity, coexisting romanticized and pragmatic identity, class identity, and youth culture identity.
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Thesis (Ph.D.) - Indiana University, School of Education, 2015
Keywords
adolescents, Identity, Migration, Taiwan
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Doctoral Dissertation