The Dignity of Nations

Equality, Competition, and Honor in East Asian Nationalism


Edited by Sechin Y. S. Chien and John Fitzgerald

ISBN : 978-962-209-795-7

Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology

August 2006

272 pages, 6″ x 9″

  • HK$295.00

Contributors to this book argue that everyday struggles for dignity and equality in the states of East Asia provide much of the impetus driving East Asian nationalism. They examine China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, which occupy one of the most volatile regions in the world today. Each of them harbors an historical grievance dating back half a century or more which limits its full or effective sovereignty. China seeks to recover Taiwan; Taiwan presses for de jure recognition of its de facto autonomy. Neither of the two Koreas is satisfied to remain separated from the other indefinitely, and Japan is divided over constitutional limits on the sovereign right to wage war. Each of these historical grievances is structured into the politics of the region and into its international relations. They are also embedded in popular memories that periodically spark pride, shame, and resentment—whether over a rocky outcrop, a history textbook, or an alleged US intervention on a sensitive issue of national sovereignty. Everyday struggles for dignity and equality, the contributors argue, should not be overlooked in any search for explanations of nationalist pride and resentment.

The contributors to this book are:

  • Alice H. Amsden
  • Sechin Y. S. Chien
  • Wan-yao Chou
  • John Fitzgerald
  • Takashi Hikino
  • Yi-huah Jiang
  • Angela Ki Che Leung
  • Masachi Ohsawa
  • Naoki Sakai
  • Sung-chiao Shen
  • Kenneth M. Wells

Sechin Y. S. Chien is an Associate Research Fellow at the Research Centre of Humanities and Social Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei. He writes mainly on Western political philosophy, the history of political ideas, and the history of political discourses in Taiwan. He has published a collection of essays on modern political ethics (2001), and is currently working on a reinterpretation of liberalism. John Fitzgerald is Professor of Asian Studies and Head of the School of Social Sciences at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. He has authored and edited a number of books on Chinese politics and Chinese-Australian history, most recently After the Rush (2004) and Rethinking China’s Provinces (2002). His forthcoming book on White Australia, Big White Lies, focuses on issues of equality and dignity among Chinese-Australian communities from the nineteenth to early twentieth centuries.