The Impact of Digital Technologies on Political Participation and Economic Activities of Migrants from and in Taiwan

Wednesday
11:00 am – 12:45 pm
Room 3

  • Jens Damm, “The Impact of Digital Media on Overseas Chinese and Taiwanese ‘Friendship Associations’”
  • Julia Marinaccio, “Electoral Behaviour of Overseas Taiwanese in Austria: Combining Digital Ethnography and Traditional Field Research”
  • Beatrice Zani, “Surfing on Digital Waves, Navigating Global Seas: Chinese Migrants’ Creative E-Commerce in Taiwan”

The first paper by Jens Damm (Tübingen) paper maps how migrants from Taiwan and Mainland China in Berlin are involved in networks with their place of origin. Based on qualitative interviews, it contrasts how Taiwan fosters a narrative of being a ‘norm taker’ (democracy/human rights), in contrast to Mainland China’s becoming a ‘norm setter.’ The second paper by Isabelle Cheng (Portsmouth) explores the use of smartphones by Southeast Asian immigrant women in Taiwan for facilitating political participation (Line group observation). This paper argues that this semi-open cyberspace creates a forum where immigrant women solicit support for political campaigns. The third paper by Julia Marinaccio (Berlin) deals with Taiwan’s presidential/legislative elections of 2020. In particular, she analyses the electoral behaviour of the Taiwanese Overseas, highlighting# the role of social media in voter participation. This paper presents the results of a mixed-method study of electoral behaviour of Taiwanese Overseas in Austria. The fourth paper by Beatrice Zani (Lyon) then explores the emotional ties and solidarity networks of Chinese women within WeChat groups in Taiwan. The research is based on data collected both in Taiwan and in Mainland China. All papers thus offer insights into very recent phenomena of social media employed by different groups of migrants: Mainland Chinese and Southeast Asian migrants living in Taiwan on the one hand, Taiwanese migrants residing in Europe on the other hand. Both groups stay in contact with their places of origin employing different types of social media and increasingly adapt to their new life situations.

Jens Damm, “The Impact of Digital Media on Overseas Chinese and Taiwanese ‘Friendship Associations’

This paper will map how migrants from Taiwan and Mainland China in Berlin are both involved in various networks with their place of origin. This paper will ask, in particular, how the Taiwanese authorities are actively involved in keeping contact with various types of migrants (defined broadly) in Germany, and what kind of role the ubiquitous social media apps, such as Line and Facebook, play in strengthening this relationship. This paper is based on the observations of the activities undertaken by Taiwanese and Chinese communities in Germany in the form of ‘friendship association’. All ‘friendship associations’ established by Taiwanese and Chinese communities include a large number of transnational actors, including newly arrived migrants, artists, language teachers and those who temporarily live abroad. Notable examples are the German-Chinese Association – Friends of Taiwan (DCG), the German-Chinese Friendship Association (GDCF) and the Confucius Institute at the Free University Berlin. Educational associations, such as FlAKE, and cultural groups, such as the Chinese Umbrella Organisation in Germany (Chinesischer Dachverband in Deutschland UCCVD) can be also included in this category. These organisations vary in their goals, but in general, they contribute to cultural diplomacy promoted by Taiwan and China. This paper will critically analyse how Taiwan (an ethnic Chinese region) fosters a narrative of being a ‘norm taker’ that emphasises the island’s democracy and commitment to human rights protection, in contrast to China·s claim to become a ‘norm setter’.

Julia Marinaccio, “Electoral Behaviour of Overseas Taiwanese in Austria: Combining Digital Ethnography and Traditional Field Research

Against the backdrop of mounting pressures from the PRC under the leadership of Xi Jinping and the long-lasting protests in Hong Kong, Taiwan’s presidential and legislative elections 2020 have become a significant political event that has also garnered considerable international attention. The issue of electoral behaviour dominated media coverage before and after the elections within Taiwan. But while electoral behaviour of Taiwanese living in Taiwan is a well-researched topic, we still know little about how Taiwanese who reside abroad cast their votes. Using a mixed-methods approach, this study addresses the following questions: How many Taiwanese who live abroad turn back to Taiwan to make use of their right to vote? Whom do they vote for? Do they organise themselves individually or in groups? What role do social media play in the organisation of vote-related homeward journeys? In this study, the author firstly conducts a large-n survey among Taiwanese Overseas residing in Austria. To increase the turnout rate, the questionnaires are distributed online via the various Facebook pages of Taiwanese Overseas associations and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Austria and by door-to-door visits in Taiwanese households and enterprises. Secondly, to gain a better understanding of how homeward journeys were organised, digital ethnographic methods are used to explore the diverse virtual networks and face-to-face semi-structured interviews are conducted with the principal functionaries of the Taiwanese Overseas population in Austria, diplomats, and the CEO’s of the two Taiwanese airlines China Airline and Eva Air.

Beatrice Zani, “Surfing on Digital Waves, Navigating Global Seas: Chinese Migrants’ Creative E-Commerce in Taiwan”

This paper is based on data collection in Taiwan and in Mainland China. Through ‘multi-sited ethnography’ and ‘virtual ethnography’, 171 ‘life stories’ were collected describing the economic practices, emotional ties and solidarity networks of women within WeChat groups. how and to what extent navigating through global capitalism and local consumption, Chinese migrant women’s physical and virtual transnational economic activities transgresses and transcend, or redraw, spaces, temporalities, and boundaries? To what extent does the production of digital markets contribute to upward social and economic mobility processes? In particular, taking account the rigidly monitored physical and moral borders between China and Taiwan, As a result, it will be shown that by exploiting new technologies—more precisely the application of WeChat on ‘contested markets’—Chinese women generate translocal and transgressive entrepreneurial practices. Women’s transnational social networks built on the production of transnational multipolar economies connect the different spaces of women such as Chinese rural villages of origin, Chinese cities where they worked temporarily worked and the new environment in Taiwan.

Event Timeslots (1)

Room 3
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