UCLA Taiwan in the World Lecture
Shih-chan Dai (UCLA)
Moderated by Philip Ayoub (Occidental College)
The UCLA Taiwan in the World lecture series aims to promote Taiwan studies and disseminate knowledge about Taiwan in a global context and shed light on Taiwan’s political economy, international relations, and US-Taiwan-China relations, as well as Taiwan’s society, political system, social structure, and institutions. This series is organized by Taiwan in the World postdoctoral fellow Shih-chan Dai.
Taiwan has become the first Asian country to legalize same-sex spousal rights with the passage of a special law in May 2019. The legalization of same-sex relationships in Taiwan is a highly- contested process, with pro- and anti-gay rights groups competing with one another to win legitimacy over how even the idea of gay rights should be interpreted. To better understand the different discursive tools deployed by pro- and anti-gay rights activists between November 2013 and March 2020, I adopt a thematic content analysis approach to generate a codebook and apply it to a corpus that includes Facebook public posts of the pro-gay rights group and anti-gay right group with the largest numbers of followers, respectively. The findings suggest that the pro-gay rights group is more likely to mention frames of anti-discrimination, equality, liberty, and identity-building while their anti-gay rights counterpart relies heavily on frames of morality, public interests, democracy, and anti-elitism. Furthermore, the pro- and anti-gay rights activists have adopted specific localized framing elements to construct their policy messages, including “Taiwan-China comparison,” “indigenous people,” and “ancestor veneration.” By treating framing as a dynamic process that changes over time, it becomes possible to observe that activists’ framing patterns have changed in response to policy outcomes, elite behavior, and interaction with rival activists.