Geopolitics, Identity Politics and Sociology in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore

Monday, July 14, 2014: 6:30 PM
Room: Booth 49
Oral Presentation
Albert TZENG , International Inst Asian Studies, Leiden, Netherlands
The paper compares the traditions of sociology in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore based on a systemic bibliographic review, and relates the findings with the identity politics of the three places which reflect their respective roles within a broader context of post-war geopolitics. Four categories of literature that are considered essential to defining the domestic sociological tradition were reviewed: domestic journals or paper series, writings about domestic history of sociology, normative-epistemological debates, and edited collections of domestic social studies. To make sense of the findings, the concept “domestic disciplinary identity” was developed with three forms of ‘subjectivities’ distinguished: domestic disciplinary subjectivity, the degree to which sociologists of a particular locale were considered (or acted) as if they belonged to one bounded community;  domestic empirical subjectivity, the degree to which a geographical territory was seen as a legitimate epistemological subject; and civilizational subjectivity, the degree to which sociologists perceived that they belonged to a culture distinctive from the Western civilizational frame in sociology. The patterns are further associated with the post-War geopolitical statues and identity politics of the three places: the ‘imposed Chinese nationalism’ in Cold-War Taiwan and its challenge from the rising indigenous identity after the 1980s; the ‘colonial denationalisation’ policies in Hong Kong and the ambivalence toward the reunion with China in 1997; the ‘multi-racial nation making’ project in Singapore following its unexpected independence in 1965.