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Taiwan: Formation of National Identity and Its Effect on Political Engagement

Kamila Kolpashnikova Assistant Professor

2018 Taiwan Fellowship Scholar

Field of Study:

No:

Date:2018/12/22

Abstract:

This paper analyzes the association between national identity and political affiliation. I argue that the political processes in Taiwan as well as the outcomes of the local elections in 2018 reflect not the reversal of the liberal democratic ideals in the country but of the support of ‘underdogs’ and ‘黨外’, as well as the longstanding tradition of anti-establishment political affiliations among Taiwanese people. Using the 1992-2015 Taiwan Social Change Survey, I test the effects of demographic characteristics and of national identity (net of ethnic identity) on the anti-establishment political sentiments vis-à-vis the support of the mainstream political parties. I find that people with dual identity were at the core of the anti-establishment movement in the 90s and 00s. Moreover, they were more likely to be younger, well educated, and have higher earnings. The democratic process with periodic changes in power since the lift of the martial law was, therefore, driven by the electorate who used to identify themselves as both Taiwanese and Chinese in the early years of the democratic rule in Taiwan.