Identity Politics and Popular Culture in Taiwan: A Sajiao Generation (Hardback)
  • Identity Politics and Popular Culture in Taiwan: A Sajiao Generation (Hardback)
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Identity Politics and Popular Culture in Taiwan: A Sajiao Generation (Hardback)

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£54.95
Hardback 222 Pages / Published: 07/12/2016
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In the past two decades, a uniform representation of cutified femininity prevails in the Taiwanese media, evidenced by the shift of Taiwan's popular cultural taste from a Chinese-centered tradition to a mixed absorption from neighboring cultural capitals in the global market. This book argues that the native term "sajiao" is the key to understand the phenomenon. Originally referring to a set of persuasive tactics through imitating a spoiled child's gestures and ways of speaking to get attention or material goods, sajiao is commonly understood to be women's weapon to manipulate men in the Mandarin-speaking communities. By re-interpreting sajiao as a "feminine" tactic, or the tactic of the weak, the book aims to propose a "feminine framework" in exploring identity politics in the following three aspects: the rising obsession with the immature female image in Taiwan's popular culture, the adoption of the feminine communication style in native speakers' everyday language and interactions, and the competing discourses between dominant/subordinate, central/peripheral, global/local, and Chinese/Taiwanese in shaping the identity politics in current Taiwanese society. The micro-analysis of everyday language politics leads the reader to examine layers of discourse about gender, identity, and communication, and finally to inquire how to situate or categorize "Taiwan" in area studies. The "feminine framework" is a useful theoretical tool that not only deconstructs everyday communication practice but also provides a bottom-up, alternative angle in analyzing Taiwan's role in political, economic, and cultural flows in East Asia. The massive imports of popular cultural products in the late 80s, mainly from Japan, fermented the kawaii (Japanese cute) type of femininity in regulating everyday communication and the perception of gender roles in Taiwan. The popularity of the baby-like female image is concurrent with the simmering debate on Taiwanese identity. Taiwan offers a unique perspective for observing identity politics because it still holds an undetermined status in the international community. The collective uncertainty about the island's future and the diminishing voice in the international society become the backdrop for the growth of defining, interpreting, and appropriating sajiao elements in the popular culture. This book offers an in-depth examination of the interplay among local historical contexts, cross-border capitalist exchange, and everyday communication that shapes the dialogism of Taiwanese identity.

Publisher: Lexington Books
ISBN: 9781498510325
Number of pages: 222
Weight: 454 g
Dimensions: 237 x 161 x 19 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Hsin-I Yueh offers us the most complete and thorough analysis to date of sajiao in Taiwan.... By offering a holistic view of what sajiao means, this book is a significant addition to scholarship.... Yueh's book leads to a further understanding of Taiwan's complicated national, regional, and marginal identity. Anyone eager to learn more about Taiwan pop culture, everyday culture, communication and identity now have a marvelous resource, while scholars interested in an original analysis of sajiao will be able to turn to this book for insight. * International Journal of Taiwan Studies *
This important study focuses on one short but incredibly important word: sajiao. Hsin-I Sydney Yueh introduces the term by discussing some important and difficult moments in recent Taiwanese politics and diplomacy and shows how the term was used. In her early chapters she presents a history of the term over the course of pre-modern and modern history and provides us with a sense of the many social realms in which it's used. Yueh gives us a deep but clear sense of the word, its place in Taiwan, and its importance in providing individuals with a way to deal with difficult social situations. It is a small word, but one that carries great weight. Yueh has written a book that scholars from a host of disciplines should read to have a better understanding of this nation and society that many of us have spent decades studying. -- Murray Rubinstein, Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
Hsin-I Sydney Yueh's analysis of the feminized pleading communication style known as sajiao shows that it is more than the culture of cute in Taiwan. It is also a key to understanding Taiwanese identity and the difficulties of finding a place in the world for a small country in the shadows of an ever-bullying China. This is an innovative approach to Taiwan studies, and will be of particular interest to anyone interested in communication and everyday culture. -- Scott Simon, University of Ottawa
Drawing upon a range of methods and data-participant observation, traditional and online media-Hsin-I Sydney Yueh has crafted a rich and compelling account of sajiao, a recognizable form of discourse in Taiwan. This is a work that advances our understandings of gender, language, culture, performance, relationships, and identity. Readers will be richly rewarded when reading this book. -- Todd L. Sandel, University of Macau
This fascinating book brings an entirely new perspective to the decades-long debate over Taiwanese identity. Hsin-I Sydney Yueh sets aside the overused categories of national identity and independence/unification to show how the obsession with cuteness, youth, and femininity in Taiwan's popular culture is constructing social practices that are as Taiwanese as Mazu's birthday. Who would have guessed that a teenage girl pouting and fake-punching her boyfriend was a political act? -- Shelley Rigger, Davidson College
Written in a manner both accessible and compelling, Identity Politics and Popular Culture in Taiwan: A Sajiao Generation captures the dominant gender ideology in Taiwanese society. Hsin-I Sydney Yueh contextualizes the world of sajiao in all its communicative complexity and gesticulation, while offering the reader a glimpse into her own personal Taiwanese identity journey as a native Mandarin speaker growing up in Taipei. The work demonstrates a thoughtful orchestration of cultural, literary, and sociopolitical concerns that is of interest to readers in communication, gender, area, and cultural studies as well as in sociolinguistics and literature. In short, a spicy addition to the growing body of works on popular culture in Taiwan studies. -- Ann Heylen, National Taiwan Normal University

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