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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26303

Title: Perspectives and Biases of Chinese and Japanese Youth on China-Japan Relations: The Influence of Social Identity
Authors: Geng, Yinuo
Keywords: Perspectives and Biases
Social Identity
Issue Date: Feb-2011
Publisher: Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies
Abstract: This paper analyzes the rationale behind perceived negative sentiments between the youth of China and of Japan. It begins by asking the question why a certain population group—youth—in both countries often respond strongly to interpretations of historical events and maintain antagonistic perceptions of each other. What is the underlying factor that drives such negative attitudes for a generation that has not experienced the horrors of war? The China-Japan case will seek to demonstrate how societal instabilities and increasing interdependence interact to create opportunities for virulent nationalism if the bilateral relationship in question contains differing interpretations of shared historical memory, which becomes a focal point in the formation of nationalistic group identity. As nationalism is, by definition, in comparison to an “other”, there is a clear association between domestic identities and international politics. Under circumstances where relations between two countries allow for significant interactions within a context of past animosities, negative biases tend to develop through mutual comparisons. In the case of China and Japan, it will be argued that this trend, instead of more traditional explanations of economic competition and strategic rivalry, best explains the growing hostilities and nationalistic resentments between the youth in these two Asian nations. That is not to dismiss the importance of economics and geopolitics—after all, it is precisely the cooperation and competition in these areas that allow for more interaction and comparisons between countries—but rather to argue that they are not the seminal motivations for the emotional reactions of the average person and, most especially, of youths to this bilateral relationship. Hence, to truly understand this phenomenon of nationalistic antagonism, the China-Japan relationship is viewed not just through a liberal or a realist perspective, but also through the lens of a constructivist social identity theory.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26303
ISBN: 978-0-7727-0848-9
ISSN: 1716-4141
Appears in Collections:The Kiessling Papers

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