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Masculinity in a Colonial Culture – The Oedipus Complex in Taiwan

Ho, Mei-Tzu (2016) Masculinity in a Colonial Culture – The Oedipus Complex in Taiwan. Masters thesis, University of Essex.

MPhil Thesis M.T.HO ( 290616).pdf

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Appendix for the thesis - M.T. Ho 2016.pdf

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In my thesis, I aimed to show that masculinity in a colonized culture is distorted by the relationship between the colonizer and the colonized. I interpret it in terms of the Oedipus complex, which can be discerned in Taiwanese history and cultural products. I have chosen Taiwan as my object of study, partly because I know it subjectively, as a Taiwanese, as well as objectively, through my research; but also because it has had a long history of colonization and it also has a long tradition of stories in which the relationship between father and son takes a particular shape of paternal domination. This relationship can be understood in terms of a misrepresentation of the Oedi pus complex into a form that is compatible with paternal domination that characterizes Taiwanese culture, rather than the son’s overcoming the Oedipus complex, which would not be compatible with Taiwanese masculine relationships. The confusion arises from the succession of colonizers and the undermining of a clear ego -ideal, but also from the undermining of identification - the second part of Freud's Oedipus complex. I demonstrate the way my theory of the Oedipus complex in Taiwan, as a colonized culture, can be found in Taiwanese novels, literature, myths and films. The fact that ‘the father’ – both the Eastern father and the broader sense of ‘father’ as a national or cultural identity – is more authoritarian obstructs the identification that completes the Oedipus complex in the West. Freudian theory seems incompatible with Taiwanese culture, which ‘accepts’ it usually in a distorted form. However, we don’t know whether the theories are different or whether there are distortions that make them seem incompatible. Through my analysis of selected material in different historical periods, I conclude that there is enormous fear of castration complex but lack of stable identification between father and son. This phenomenon can be attributed to Taiwan’s multiple colonial history, implies the masculine ‘problem’ that the male – in Taiwan – has no equivalent experience. My main finding is that masculinity in Taiwan can be understood, not just in terms of colonization as a historian or sociologist might understand it, but in terms of the internal world in which the son remains dominated by the father through an incomplete working through of the Oedipus complex.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0500 Psychoanalysis
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2016 13:34
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2021 01:00

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