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By Ann-Marie Kishel

This social experiences textual content deals emergent readers an advent to the symbols of the us.

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Clearly, Renan is doing the same, but Anderson goes further and attempts to explain national consciousness through an objective theory, in an argument that links national identity to the development of printing. He is, therefore, aiming to describe national subjectivity with an objective theory. Like the work on democratization discussed in chapter 1, it offers the promise of a positivist causal model for “explaining” national consciousness: collective imaginations are sustained by languages; printing creates a new field of exchange; therefore, in this causal model, the oral villages and scribal empires are dissolved into modern nations of people reading newspapers and novels.

It is easy to overplay these arguments, but the different dimensions of Gold’s work all point to a realignment of historiography in a way that begins to produce notions of a distinct Taiwanese nationhood. A “history from below,” a counter-hegemonic history, modernity, the progressiveness of political action, especially violence against the state, and the realization of fully developed national subjects draw towards the construction of Taiwan as a coherent and fully developed national idea. It is this aspect of State and Society in the Taiwan Miracle that gives it, its paradigmatic status in Taiwan Studies.

Assumes national identity as a historical effect, or as the result of certain historical processes that necessarily locate their development in a historical trajectory. Modernism is a very important dimension of Anderson’s theory, especially in the context of Taiwan. It understands the nation as quite explicitly a novel political and cultural formation, an epistemological break in which the subjectivities of the “dynastic realm” give way to a new mode of modern subjectivity. In this model, the premodern is conceived of as a historical, with individuals who are unable to participate equally in a shared identity (being either speakers or writers), while the idealized national citizen, in contrast, is rational and constituted by active, complete subjectivities, able to imagine his or her nation equally in the printed language.

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