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Taiwan as the Westphalian Society's Foucaldian Heterotopia

Abstract : During this lecture, I wish to submit some new avenues for tackling the Taiwan issue. By Taiwan issue, I mean the de facto, non de jure, independence of the state in Taiwan. More precisely, one can consider that not only politicians but also academics are constantly confronted with a kind of Gordian knot intermingling de facto independence, Chinese irredentism, third countries' Realpolitik, Taiwan's democratization, and last but not least the resuming of cross-straits relations and the relocation tide of the island's industry on the mainland. In this paper, I suggest to resort to Michel Foucault's concept of "heterotopia" as an "other space" in order to better grasp Taiwan's uniqueness in the international society, on the one hand, the processes at work in the latter, on the other hand. I shall only present some outlines: many examples, references, and demonstrations should be added. Similarly, as I am presenting it in front of an audience that is well informed both of Taiwan's history and of contemporary political developments, I have not recalled many processes, which should otherwise be essential. For the same reason, I shall often use in an interchangeable way Taiwan, Republic of China (ROC), Republic of China on Taiwan, the island, on the one hand, the People's Republic of China (PRC), China, the mainland, on the other hand, though nuances should of course be introduced. Finally, by way of introducing this lecture, I need to say that it is based on two underlying hypothesis, that I shall not discuss here. The first one is that the Westphalian system - that is a juxtaposition of sovereign states - is still operational, though it should not be forgotten that it is a fiction. The second one is that globalization is not leading to a borderless world, but quite the contrary, that nation-states are a product of globalization
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Françoise Mengin. Taiwan as the Westphalian Society's Foucaldian Heterotopia. Sociétés politiques comparées, Fonds d'analyse des sociétés politiques, 2008, pp.1-21. ⟨hal-01022397⟩

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