Seizing the Transnational – Ideology, Hegemony, and the Doubling of ChinaTaiwan Relations

André Beckershoff


The condition of possibility of the recent rapprochement between China and Taiwan lies in the de-politicisation of economic relations, which in turn is facilitated by a doubling of Cross-Strait relations into apparently separate spheres of civil society and politics. What drives this increasing separation, in what terms can we describe this process, and what are its consequences? This Neo- Gramscian approach traces the bifurcation across the level of ideological production to the underlying social relations. Social forces emerging from transnational relations of production forge a hegemonic project, promoting the formal separation of China-Taiwan relations into seemingly independent social realms. To achieve a critical understanding of this dynamic, the article reconstructs the strategies pursued by these forces and the mechanisms through which they operate. This historical materialist re-conceptualisation of Cross-Strait integration as a contested project rather than a quasi-natural process allows unveiling the inner contradictions and the crisis-prone nature of the specific transnational arrangement that the hegemonic project has assumed. The major internal contradiction of the project lies in the fact that its success to promote the separation of both spheres ultimately rests on an ever closer co-operation of forces from these spheres, undermining the appearance of independent spheres.

Keywords: Hegemony, Cross-Strait relations, Transnational Historical
Materialism, Gramsci, China-Taiwan relations

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