Critiques the idea of a Chinese cultural identity and argues that such identities are instead determined by geopolitical and economic forces. Forget Chineseness provides a critical interpretation of not only discourses of Chinese identityChinesenessbut also of how they have reflected differences between Chinese societies, such as in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Peoples Republic of China, Singapore, and communities overseas. Allen Chun asserts that while identity does have meaning in cultural, representational terms, it is more importantly a product of its embeddedness in specific entanglements of modernity, colonialism, nation-state formation, and globalization. By articulating these processes underlying institutional practices in relation to public mindsets, it is possible to explain various epistemic moments that form the basis for their sociopolitical transformation.
From a broader perspective, this should have salient ramifications for prevailing discussions of identity politics. The concept of identity has not only been predicated on flawed notions of ethnicity and culture in the social sciences but it has also been acutely exacerbated by polarizing assumptions that drive our understanding of identity politics.
About the author
Allen Chun is Research Fellow at the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan. He is the author of Unstructuring Chinese Society: The Fictions of Colonial Practice and the Changing Realities of Land in the New Territories of Hong Kong.
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