Responding to Globalization: Taiwanese Professional Women in Postcolonial—Feminist China Studies
Chih-Yu Shih(Department of Political Science, Taiwan University)
Discourses on globalization still seem to need an other. They set up encoded dichotomies such as cosmopolitan vs. Parochial, capitalism vs. Tradition, and so on where the first and second terms implicitly stand for “the global” and “the local,'” respectively. These codifications carry gender associations as well with “masculinity” valorized over “femininity.” Creating the other thus guarantees the continuance of feminizing projects in the world political economy. Evaluations of China from the Western-trained “experts” are a case in point. They need to objectify China into a separate and underdeveloped other; or else their sense of observational and ge9opolitical (masculine) superiority may be undermined. Professional women in Taiwan, in contrast, offer one model of “mobile subjectivities” in a global economy. Caught between a masculinizing globalization process, on the one hand, and a patriarchal local culture, on the other, professional women in Taiwan exhibit a relatively low demand for one clear-cut cultural identity, thereby rendering them ideal agents to cope with the contradictions and demands of globalization. Similarly, Taiwan is caught in-between. It must operate within a context of U.S.-led liberal internationalism mediated through a recent legacy of Japanese economic and cultural dominance while keeping alert to a Chinese chauvinism, also extant within the is island, but rising to threatening levels of nationalism just across the straits. Accordingly, this paper suggests that women professionals in Taiwan may serve as an appropriate model not only for cross-strait relations but for China’s internationalization as well.
China, Taiwan, Globalization, Feminism, Professional Women, Postcolonialism