Transition and Tradition in Taiwan: Family Relations in a Home Visit to a New Immigrant

Author: Yu-Han Lin (University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa)
Speaker: Yu-Han Lin
Topic: Anthropological linguistics
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2019 General Session


As an increasingly multilingual society, Taiwan is providing speakers from diverse language backgrounds more opportunities to thrive in various fields, including participation in political institutions. At the same time, traditional notions of family and patriarchy remain salient in routine social activities. This study aims to see how Taiwan in transition and tradition is visible in the interaction among a new female immigrant legislator and the family of another new immigrant. Video-recorded data comes from the legislator’s visit to the immigrant’s home in Taiwan in 2018. Adopting Membership Categorization Analysis (Fitzgerald & Housley, 2015; Sacks, 1972) and Multimodal Conversation Analysis (Goodwin, 2000; Mondada, 2014), I analyze how the participants manage their family relations through an advice-giving sequence aimed to counsel the new immigrant’s daughter. In the multiparty interaction, the participants invoke different familial categories and culturally associated predicates, such as different epistemic status, rights and obligations. Most significantly, the connection between local advice and normative parental and patriarchal authority becomes relevant. The study documents how advice giving is managed when it trespasses on other participants’ competencies and authority (Heritage & Sefi, 2002) and how family relations are invoked, reinforced and resisted through the activity (Nguyen, 2009).

Keywords: Membership Categorization Analysis, Multimodal Conversation Analysis, Family Relations