Imagining the other: The construction of whiteness in Taiwan
The literature of Whiteness studies has covered a wide range of theorizing from various perspectives. Past research, however, overlooked the construction of whiteness in the international terrain. Only a few studies have been conducted in a context outside of the United States. This project aims to understand how whiteness is constructed and how whiteness functions in an Asian context. The focus of the project is to explore the construction of whiteness from a Taiwanese perspective. In other words, this project is interested in how Taiwanese people construct the idea of being white and also how white privilege functions in a racially homogeneous Taiwanese society. This study takes a critical interpretive perspective to view the race relationship between Whites and Taiwanese. In order to grasp how Taiwanese people come to understand whiteness, how they make meaning of whiteness and the ways in which whiteness operates in their daily lives, qualitative research methods are employed. Specifically, data is obtained in two steps. The first stage of data collection involved examination of history textbooks to understand how Taiwanese people relate to the white world in their consciousness as well as explanation of the historical relationship between the West and Taiwan. The second stage of data collection entails in-depth interviews with ten Taiwanese people. This study concludes with a model of the construction and the impact of whiteness in Taiwan. It is found that (1) whiteness is constructed as a discourse of source in the Taiwanese context; (2) whiteness is linked to the double discourse of degrading and respecting the white world and the feeling of inferiority and superiority; (3) Capitalism, modernity, post colonialism and face work influence the construction of whiteness in the Taiwanese consciousness.
Minority & ethnic groups;
0631: Minority & ethnic groups