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The Appropriation and Mobilisation of Kawaii in Taiwanese Politics
|Abstract:||By investigating the case of A-Bian Doll (扁娃, see Figure 4), this paper explores how Kawaii (可愛い, the Japanese word for 'cute') has pervaded in Taiwan, and has since been appropriated by Taiwanese politicians as one of the significant methods for advancing democratisation, and constructing collective imagination and national identities. Particularly, this paper explores how Kawaii is circulated, reproduced and consumed in Taiwanese politics. This paper is part of my current project, Political Consumerism in Taiwan. Political consumerism emerged in Taiwan at a time when its consumer society was highly developed and during a period when political elections took place on an almost yearly basis. To help win votes, political staff members devised, marketed and then sold a vast array of advertisements, music, clothes, dolls and other political commodities. When producing these commodities, staffers were putting forward their political beliefs and tastes. I will first discuss how Kawaii is practised in Taiwanese people's everyday life in relation to the process of democratisation and the formation of consumer society. I will then move to the discussion of the A-Bian Doll and its accessories, which is arguably the most significant example of how Kawaii is made tangible in Taiwanese politics. I will examine how Kawaii is appropriated as a familiar element from Taiwanese culture by former President Chen's staffers, and is then injected into ingredients drawn from Taiwanese baseball culture and the features of Chen to produce the A-Bian Doll and its accessories. By making and advertising the A-Bian Doll and its accessories, Chen's staffers create a new culture, and then feed this back into social circulation, mobilize supporters, and gain votes. Finally, I will investigate Bian Mi's (Chen's supporters) practices of consuming A-Bian accessories, and the concept of Kawaii conveyed by these commodities. I will explore how they buy, collect and use these commodities to express their national identity and participate in Taiwanese democracy.|
|Appears in Collections:||教師著作|
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