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Book Chapter

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Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield


Since 2015, the movements of refugees and migrants have intensified discussions on citizenship in both Eastern and Western societies. The image of Aylan, a three-year-old Syrian boy lying on a beach, triggered global conversations on citizenship, borders, and nationhood. In Germany, Chancellor Merkel worked swiftly on refugees’ settlement in German society and encountered much resistance. In the United States, discussions of policies to curtail immigrants, migrants, and refugees became heated after the 2016 presidential election. In Taiwan, given the country’s ethnic diversity and politically controversial status as a nation-state, political economists urged the government to accept and treat refugees and immigrants as assets for the nation’s future (Chou, 2015). Unlike Germany, where over one-fifth of the population is first or second generation of immigrants (Thomasson, 2017) or the United States where more than one-fourth of its population under age eighteen lives with at least one immigrant parent (Zong et al., 2019), the num-ber of immigrants and migrants in Taiwan has recently reached 4.7 percent of the population in 2019 and continues to grow. Since the 1980s, Taiwan has become a major country to receive newcomers for jobs or family reunifica-tions. It is estimated that in 2030, 13.5 percent of its twenty-five-year-old population will be from households with immigrant parents, predominantly from Southeast Asia (Yang et al., 2011). Occurring in one of the most vibrant regions with respect to culture, mobility, and economic activities, these rapid demographic changes brought nuanced discussions to the island’s citizen-ship practices and their articulations, given its colonial past and ambivalent political status since the Cold War. Always a place sought by newcomers and where they settled, Taiwan has transformed itself from a formal colony subjugated by multiple cultural and political influences to a vibrant democratic, diverse, and capitalistic society. The aim of this book is to examine the role of relationality in Taiwan’s citizenship formations and expressions by tracing local and global influences. It further discusses the implications of focusing on relational aspects of citizenship in other societies such as the United States.

Chapter of

Cultivating membership in Taiwan and beyond: Relational citizenship


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Available for download on Wednesday, December 20, 2023