Democracy in action: The making of social movement webs in Taiwan

Ya-Chung Chuang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This article examines new directions of Taiwanese social movements during the last decade - their promises, struggles, agendas and obstacles. Ranging from loosely knit collective protests to the activities of well-structured organizations, these grassroots actions seek to change society in ways deriving from a variety of socio-cultural imaginings - some Utopian, others firmly grounded in either political and economic analyses or cultural criticism. I find that the processes by which people mobilize, organize, and involve themselves engage a wide array of motivations, meanings, opportunities and limitations. This article investigates various perspectives on Taiwanese social movements through an ethnography of democracy as a process of social struggle for survival, citizenship and meaning, rather than as an abstraction of liberalism. I mainly focus on urban social movement organizations, which began to emerge on the public scene in the 1980s and flourished in the 1990s, situating them within a culture of protest in the making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-255
Number of pages21
JournalCritique of Anthropology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2004


  • Collective action
  • Grassroots democracy
  • NGOs
  • Protest
  • Social movements


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