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Volume #6, Number #1

Published in December, 2002

This paper explores political change at the local level in Taiwan during the process of rapid democratization since the mid-1980’s. Three related questions are raised: what changes occurred in Taiwan’s local politics during this period; did these changes on the whole manifest a stable or a non-stable outcome? Finally, did all these changes point to a democratic direction?

This paper employs both Huntington’s theory regarding political change and propositions derived from the literature related to democratization. The data used by this paper were gleaned from a two-wave survey of Taiwanese local leaders (1993-2001). The preliminary findings are: local politics in Taiwan, indeed, have been undergoing some substantial changes during this period.

Relatively speaking, the scope of the changes in leadership, policy and group dynamics has been much broader than that of political structure and culture. The rate of change, in the former three areas also appears to have been a lot faster than that of the latter two. On the whole, the phenomenon of local political change in Taiwan in the last 15 years or so signifies more a “stable” one, in Huntington’s terms, than a non-stable one. The direction of local political change in Taiwan has also been democratic during the same period.

Da-chi Liao

This paper presents a number of provisional and incomplete ideas and reflections about the long-term forces that shaped the emergence, consolidation and eventual possible decline of the specific Western political institution of political parties. The text has a limited apparatus of bibliographical notes. I will be presenting three distinct macro-constellations of factors that roughly correspond to the phase of party rise and growth, in the second half of the 19th century up to W.W.I, of party consolidation, in the remaining part of the 20th century, and of party decline into the 21st century. The first two constellations draw on historical materials and accumulated research. On the contrary, the third has a more speculative nature. I take the lead from a number of changes in the environment and organisation of parties and extrapolate them to build a possible scenario for the next few decades.

Stefano Bartolini

This study, sponsored by the Social Science Research Center of the National Science Council, evaluates academic performance in terms of journal article publication of seven political science departments and two institutes of Academia Sinica during the period from 1995 to 2001. We find that, by total amount of publication, the Department of Political Science at National Taiwan University ranks at the very top and thus exerts substantial scholarly influence to the entire discipline. The picture looks different, however, if we measure research productivity on the more justifiable per-capita per-year basis. It turns out that the Law and Politics Section of the Institute of European and American Studies at Academia Sinica has been the most productive research institute during the studied period, and the Department of Political Science at National Chung-Cheng University the most productive one among departments with teaching responsibilities. Besides per capita output, we further analyze the distribution of publication among faculty members of each department/institute with Gini’s coefficient of concentration in order to measure the degree of inequality in output origins. We also examine the outlet diversity of each department/institute in order to detect the degree of reliance on a certain journal as the destination of publication.

Chi Huang, Ching-Ping Tang, Chung-Li Wu

This article aims to explain the failure of the DPP government’s anti-nuclear policy. We begin with an overview of the literature on social movements in order to locate the key factors affecting the outcome of collective action. Social mobilization, reform opportunity and political strategy turn out to be significant in this regard. In sum, the success of movement consists in a delicately combined circumstance. Sustained social mobilization is necessary, but not sufficient. The capacity of reformer to grasp the opportunity and adopt a viable strategy to orchestrate a reform coalition, to engineer the urgency for reform, and to take political initiative could not be overlooked. The latter part of this article reconstructs the evolution of the anti-nuclear reform after March 2000. We find (1) the resuscitated popular mobilization in the year 2000 contributes to the pressure for reform; (2) the downfall of the KMT and formation of a reform-oriented government bright forward a valuable reform opportunity; (3) the DPP’s adventurist strategy fails to organize the pro-reform camp while arousing the dogged resistance of the privileged and its enemy. We conclude by rethinking the future agenda of progressive politics and reforms in Taiwan.

Ming-sho Ho

Local environmentalism has claimed that empowering environmental management to local governments would increase policy efficiency and political responsiveness. Echoing such arguments, Taiwan has developed an environmental governing system that carries similar democratic spirit by allowing local governments to have their own policy orientations and major control over their personnel. Nevertheless, how local political situations may influence the enforcement of street-level bureaucrats, especially in a democratization context, is still not clear. This paper tries to illustrate how local political, social and economic factors have been perceived to influence local regulation enforcement by bureau staffs in Taipei and Kaohsiung Environmental Protection Bureaus. This research indicates that such long suspected factors as illegal lobbying/solicitation for penalty relief did play a role in interfering street-level regulation enforcement.

Ching-Ping Tang

This essay seeks to explore how the issues and events reported by newspapers affect the image of candidates, and then how the image of candidates affects their popular supports in Taiwanese presidential election in the year 2000. The content analysis of issues and events are conducted to collect time-series aggregate data, and the linear regressions are applied to estimate the relations between issues, events, and candidates’ images. Therefore, this paper presents the effects of candidates’ images by newspapers by identifying the dynamics of mass support from polls. We conclude that some issues and events do affect the image of individual candidates, but the relations between images and mass support are quite different according to candidates’ unique situations.

Chun Chun Shih, Yung-ming Hsu