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In chapter 4, Sara L. Friedman examines the work performed by identity and travel documents in contexts of contested citizenship and sovereignty, focusing on the largely de facto sovereignty experienced by Taiwan as a consequence of its contested relationship with China. By analyzing the atypical documents used by Taiwanese and Chinese to move between the two countries and the identity documents issued to Chinese marriage immigrants in Taiwan, she investigates how these documents substantiate Taiwan’s claims to sovereign standing and simultaneously undo those claims through their anomalous qualities. Through careful ethnography,Friedman traces the investments of both Chinese immigrants and Taiwanese bureaucrats in these documents and the actions performed with them, showing how those investments reproduce Taiwan’s contested sovereign authority and the not-quite-international border between China and Taiwan. These documentary effects in turn bestow an exceptional status on Chinese marriage immigrants that undermines their aspirations for national inclusion and belonging.

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