Zhanhuo Xia De Jiyi Zhengzhi: Jinmen, 1949-2008 [The Politics of Memory in a Geopolitical Flashpoint: Jinmen (Quemoy)]

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Zhanhuo Xia De Jiyi Zhengzhi: Jinmen, 1949-2008 [The Politics of Memory in a Geopolitical Flashpoint: Jinmen (Quemoy)]

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Title: Zhanhuo Xia De Jiyi Zhengzhi: Jinmen, 1949-2008 [The Politics of Memory in a Geopolitical Flashpoint: Jinmen (Quemoy)]
Author: Szonyi, Michael Andor
Citation: Szonyi, Michael. 2009. Zhanhuo xia de jiyi zhengzhi: Jinmen, 1949-2008. [The politics of memory in a geopolitical flashpoint: Jinmen (Quemoy), 1949-2008.] Kaogu renleixue kan [Bulletin of the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology] 71:47-70.
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Abstract: In 1949, the small island of Kinmen (Quemoy) in the Taiwan Strait became the front line in the military standoff between Chiang Kai-shek’s Republic of China on Taiwan and Mao Zedong’s People’s Republic, a flashpoint of global geopolitical confrontation, and a powerful symbol of anti-Communist resolve for the Republic of China (ROC) and its allies As a result, Kinmen became one of the most highly militarized societies in history, a place where daily life was inexorably connected to international geopolitics. Though the soldiers are largely gone from Kinmen today, militarization and geopoliticization have left enduring legacies. This paper explores the politics of local memory in contemporary society. It argues that the experience of militarization and demilitarization is remembered through four distinct discourses: an official discourse of commemoration, and three social discourses: of heroic agency, of victimization, and of nostalgia. Each of these discourses is deployed in a variety of contemporary political struggles, within Kinmen, between Kinmen and Taiwan, and between Kinmen and the mainland. These ways of remembering are thus as much about Kinmen’s present and future as about its past. The paper argues that local actors make use of collective memory in entrepreneurial ways, but their ability to do so is constrained by the inertia of collective memory. Furthermore, popular memory is not always subversive of official memory. Because what constitutes official memory is shaped by the current political reality, so too is what constitutes subversive memory.
Published Version: 10.6152/jaa.2009.12.0003
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Open Access Policy Articles, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#OAP
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:11130446
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