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Architecture, space and national identity: modern architecture in Taiwan (1895-2008)

Huang, Y.-C.; (2011) Architecture, space and national identity: modern architecture in Taiwan (1895-2008). Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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The Taiwanese people have suffered severe challenges and several changes to their national imaginations and cultural identifications during the country’s period of modernisation since the late 19th century. In particular, following the political liberalisation process in the 1990s, nationalism and national identity has become a rising and controversial issue in Taiwanese society. This thesis explores the relations between architectural production and the formation of national identity in Taiwan’s modernisation history. By putting Taiwan and its people as the research subjects, this thesis examines how different political authorities propagandised the imagined communities and promoted national identities to people through architectural production and disciplined spaces. Influenced by ideas derived from semiotics and postcolonialism, this research sees the formation of national identity as a signification process in creating myths, and as a power struggle between the authority and the people. Architecture, as the symbolic representation of national identity, needs other cultural references and discursive narratives to gain its meanings; and, as the spatial construction of national identity, it also needs functional programmes and social contexts to discipline people’s living and activities. By exposing the power structure of the signification process and the spatial administration, this research de-mystifies the authenticity of national identity. Based on different power authorities that dominated the construction of national identity, this thesis explores four national identities and imaginations which appeared in Taiwan from 1895 to 2008: first is colonial identity under Japanese colonisation; second is Chinese identity under the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration; third is the prevalence of the American influenced modernist ideology; and fourth is the rise of Taiwanese nationalism. This thesis thus undertakes a comprehensive historical examination of how the state powers manipulated national imaginations and constructed national identities through architectural production and people’s daily lives.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Architecture, space and national identity: modern architecture in Taiwan (1895-2008)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1322703
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