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Modernization or cultural imperialism: A critical reading of Taiwan’s national scholarship program for overseas study

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Title: Modernization or cultural imperialism: A critical reading of Taiwan’s national scholarship program for overseas study
Author(s): Chen, Yun-Shiuan
Director of Research: McCarthy, Cameron
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): McCarthy, Cameron
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Peters, Michael A.; Greene, Jennifer C.; Pillow, Wanda S.
Department / Program: Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline: Educational Policy Studies
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): Taiwan Educational Policy Post-colonial
Abstract: This research critically analyzes Taiwan’s long-standing National Scholarship Program for Overseas Study. It focuses on the program’s development between 1955 and 2000. The National Scholarship Program can be seen as Taiwan’s governmental pursuit of strategic modernization for national and social development. Strategic modernization does not necessarily imply a linear, progressive and teleological modernity; but should be viewed as an adjustable, flexible, and sustainable modernization that constantly transforms and assists a nation, like Taiwan, to adapt itself within its constrained and changing post-colonial condition. This view of strategic modernization is based upon an interrogation of the discourses surrounding the scholarship program, while using post-colonial theories as a referential framework. Furthermore this research included an ethnographic analysis of discourse to investigate the program from two perspectives: one was the researcher’s critical discourse analysis of historical texts and the other derives from the narratives provided by program stakeholders including scholarship fellows, a policy maker and a program conductor. The juxtaposition of these two discursive perspectives revealed different facets of the program. In terms of policy discourse, the discursive shifts of the program demonstrated productivity and transformability in their emergence, continued development and integration of various broader political, economic and cultural structures. Ethnographic interviews, in spite of the fact that the emergent themes of the interviewees were not directly associated with the grand policy discourse of modernization for national and social development, revealed a shared sense of honor derived from their being national scholarship fellows; and seemed to drive their contributions to the various national agendas over different eras. Additionally, their different experiences of studying abroad in respective eras revealed the zeitgeists of their eras in varying ways. The discourse shifts of making contributions to Taiwan – serves as an example of nationalisms. Fellows in the 1960s and 1970s were required to return to Taiwan and oftentimes were appointed as high-ranking governmental officials on national projects of an anti-communist nature, because of their advanced education and hybrid cultural experiences. Meanwhile, because of the changing discourse of nationalism, fellows and program conductors in the 1990s were convinced that staying overseas could also make significant contribution to Taiwan’s development because fellows’ professional development and their connections within “advanced” countries can be seen as an invisible extensive power of Taiwan. In brief, when the program resumed in Taiwan, the discursive shifts can be understood as having four stages: Inception, Emerging, Expansion, and Transformation. Under the overarching grand discourse of modernization for national and social development, there were individual shifting discourses within the four stages of program development. On one hand, various structural conditions and contingent incidents, such as the Cold War and its ramifications, produced discourses that drove and perpetuated the program. On the other hand, scholarship became a means for Taiwan to adopt herself to her continuously changing world condition – a post-colonial condition which produced a complex, ever-changing set of interrelationships between Taiwan, China, and the United States.
Issue Date: 2011-05-25
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/24388
Rights Information: Copyright 2011 Yun-shiuan Chen
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-05-25
2013-05-26
Date Deposited: 2011-05
 

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