Negotiating the imagined community in national curriculum: the Taiwanese case

Yu-Chih Li

Abstract


Due to its historical and geopolitical contestations, Taiwan is a country whose people possess divergent imaginations of the national community. Such a condition has been described as institutional liminality, which captures Taiwan’s status as not a complete nation state nor a non-nation state; not China nor non-China. Under such a condition, people recognize themselves either as Taiwanese, Chinese, or both. Through utilizing the concept of imagination, especially Anderson’s notion of “imagined communities” and Harvey’s interpretation of “geographical imagination,” this paper investigates the representation of imagined communities embedded in various revisions and makings of the national curriculum in Taiwan. A specific focus is put onto the revision of the national historical curriculum at the senior high school level and the resistance to it during 2014–2016. It is argued that through organizing protests and boycotts against the revision, students are no longer simply pure receivers of official knowledge, they actively express their imagination of the national community and participate in the negotiation of official knowledge, which gives the national curriculum a more democratic base.


Keywords


national curriculum; democracy; imagined community

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