This dissertation is a theoretical study of the search for Taiwan's nationhood from Dr Sun Yat-sen to President Chen Shui-bian. Three theoretical models are employed to analyse the evolving national identity and the increasing demand for nationhood in Taiwan: ethnic nationalism, civic nationalism and plural nationalism. This study shows that although theoretically the three models are distinctively different and at times contradictory, in reality, they have much in common. In fact, they are intertwined and related, because of historical, ethnical and political collective experiences and memories on which Taiwan has developed its pluralist identity, nationhood and nationalism.
Taiwan's claim for nationhood involves both ethnic and civic nationalism. Taiwan's unique 'identity-nationhood-nationalism' is termed pluralistic and is investigated in this thesis. Its development also contains elements of the ethnic-primordialist and civic-modernist positions, both of which led to a plural-pluralist nationhood in the search for nationhood. This has so far achieved a pluralist position for all the people in Taiwan.