Indigenous Peoples as Non-State Diplomatic Actors in the Public/Cultural Diplomacy of Taiwan: a Case Study of Dispossessions: Performative Encounter(s) of Taiwanese Indigenous Contemporary Art

In: International Journal of Taiwan Studies
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  • 1 Director of the MA in Cultural Policy, Relations and Diplomacy, Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

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State-centred diplomacy is primed by foreign policy objectives. Yet when traditional diplomacy suffers from weaknesses—as in the case of Taiwan—their institutions are advised to revise approaches and to consider engaging non-state actors in their strategies. This article critically explores how Indigenous peoples can be considered non-state diplomatic actors in Taiwan’s public/cultural diplomacy. Considering various definitions of diplomacy and different understandings of the role of non-state actors, the article examines the legitimacy of Taiwanese Indigenous peoples to represent Taiwan internationally and their capacity to shape the perceptions of foreign publics about the country. Further, a contextualised analysis of Dispossessions: Performative Encounter(s) of Taiwanese Indigenous Contemporary Art—an exhibition and series of events that took place in May 2018 at Goldsmiths, University of London—is used to demonstrate how the engagement between Taiwanese Indigenous peoples and foreign publics can happen in practice by examining the event through a public/cultural diplomacy lens.

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