The Impact of Social Movements on Taiwan’s Democracy

Stephen Philion


This article discusses and critiques the four articles that comprise this volume on Taiwan’s social movement and democratization. I argue that the four articles suggest that while Taiwan’s social movements have made a clear impact on Taiwan’s democratization, they remain challenged by the neo-liberal orientation of elected governments, in both KMT and DPP forms. The article provides brief comparison to East Asian NICs and Western experiences with social movements. A strength of the articles is their attention to the complex ways social movements and democratization have impacted each other for the past two decades, with attention to unintended consequences. It concludes with some thoughts on the implications of how nationalism and globalization will continue to shape the potential of social movements in Taiwan.

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