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Isabelle Cheng - Common Interests in a Differentiated Environment: Political Socialisation and Participation of Foreign-Born Citizens in Taiwan

Since two decades ago, Taiwan has gradually become a major destination for female marriage migration in East Asia ...

Since two decades ago, Taiwan has gradually become a major destination for female marriage migration in East Asia. More than 400,000 Women from China and Southeast Asia have adopted Taiwan as their home after their marriage with men in Taiwan. From 1982 to 2011, a total of 91,683 Chinese women and 96,316 foreign women (including a marginal number of non-Southeast Asian nationalities) acquired citizenship on the status of being ROC citizens’ spouses. Considering the factional margin of foreign men and women whose citizenship is awarded by means other than marriage with ROC citizens, marriage immigrant women from China and Southeast Asia has become the dominant majority of foreign-born citizens. Their growing number has gradually attracted the attention of political parties and individual politicians for their potential influence in the result of national and local elections. However, there is limited research offering insights to how these foreign-born citizens experience political socialisation and how they exercise their political rights in Taiwan. To fill in this gap, this lecture uses immigrant women’s understanding of their legal rights as a vantage point and compares their political socialisation and participation. Aided by Taiwanese activists, the two groups of immigrants joined social organisations, took part in rights-claim movement and founded self-help organisations. In these varying forms of participation, they raised their demand of National Health Insurance coverage, acquired the right to work, and partly changed the prerequisites for citizenship eligibility. Whilst sharing these common interests, Chinese and Southeast Asian immigrants found themselves challenged by a differentiated political environment and saw their social campaign yielding varying results. Thus, this lecture will also examine how the two groups are differentiated by popular discourses and how they shape their strategy in response to the differentiated political environment.

Isabelle Cheng is a Lecturer in East Asian Studies at the School of Languages and Area Studies of the University of Portsmouth. She is also a Research Associate of the Centre of Taiwan Studies of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). She serves on the Executive Board of the European Association of Taiwan Studies (EATS) since 2012.

Vienna Center for Taiwan Studies

Department of East Asian Studies
University of Vienna
AAKH-Campus, Hof 2, Entrance 2.3
Spitalgasse 2
1090 Vienna Austria

Contact: Astrid Lipinsky
T: +43-1-4277-43844
University of Vienna | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43-1-4277-0
Lastupdate: 25.01.2015 - 21:34