Contestation for Innovation-The Construction of Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy

Josie-Marie Perkuhn


When in early 2016 the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) came to power the newly elected president Tsai Ing-wen launched the New Southbound Policy (新南向政策 Xin Nanxiang zhengce, NSP). Although going south was nothing new for Taiwan when looking at economic-driven incentives, the NSP is said to go beyond in order to foster cultural exchange and people-to-people relations. New features have been woven into the fabrics of the NSP. By doing so, a narrative of a new role of an innovator was actively constructed. How can we understand those new features and how does the NSP constructs a new role as an innovator by contesting the old? This contribution applies a role theory approach and argues that the NSP not only implements a new policy but also indicates a shift in the very core of Taiwan’s self-identification. Building on role theory to understand the relation of contestation and role formation, this paper traces shifts in narrative by a qualitative content analysis and follows to introduce the analytical frame of the role of an innovator. 


Taiwan; New Southbound Policy; Narrative; Role Theory; Innovation

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