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Familiar strangers afoot in Taiwan : the competing social imaginaries of East Asian tourists

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Item Summary

Title: Familiar strangers afoot in Taiwan : the competing social imaginaries of East Asian tourists
Authors: Chen, Chien-Yuan
Keywords: Taiwan
Intra-Asia Tourism
Familiar Strangers. Social Imaginaries
Residual Culture
Issue Date: May 2012
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2012]
Abstract: This dissertation, focusing on intra-Asia tourism practices and tourism encounters in Taiwan, proposes a new transnational, multi-sited ethnographic approach for the examination of several crucial issues concerning social imaginaries, modernities, post-Cold War ideologies, and cultural identities in East Asia. The term "familiar strangers" refers to intra-East Asia tourists--mainly Japanese, and PRC Chinese--visiting Taiwan. These visitors often possess certain preconceptions concerning their destinations prior to departure--preconceptions shaped by a shared contentious history and highly subjective narrations of this history. In this dissertation I intend to explore which "social imaginaries" inform and shape tourism practices if touristic discourses and tourist reactions are assumed to be mutually influential. What dominant image of Taiwan is represented through tourism, specifically with regard to its historical relationships with Japan and China? By examining intra-Asia tourism through this triangular relationship, I illustrate (1) how Taiwan's past(s), its "Chineseness" and popular culture, are represented at particular tourism sites, and evoke different responses in Japanese and mainland Chinese tourists, (2) how these tourists use Taiwan as a reference point to re-position themselves within East Asia, and (3) how Taiwanese travel agencies and relevant businesses have reinvented and commercialized "Chineseness," "Japaneseness," and "Taiwaneseness" to maximize their profits. In order to map the terrain of the destination culture of Taiwan as a dynamic cultural formation, I conducted a transnational and multi-sited fieldwork in Taipei, Tokyo, Osaka, Shanghai and Beijing from August 2009 to May 2011, which allows me to participate in Taiwan's tourism industry from the perspective of a tour guide, tourist, and researcher. This dissertation represents an attempt to understand how fluid and yet competing conceptions of "Chineseness," "Japaneseness," and "Taiwaneseness" and the social imaginaries behind them have figured in Taiwan's tourism discourse, which has focused on different tourist populations at different periods of time.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2012.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections:Anthropology Ph.D Dissertations
Ph.D. - Anthropology

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