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Social science studies of the environment in Taiwan: what can the international community learn from work published within Taiwan?

Huang, Yi-Chen; Fan, Mei-Fang; Yang, Chih-Yuan; Mabon, Leslie

Authors

Yi-Chen Huang

Mei-Fang Fan

Chih-Yuan Yang

Leslie Mabon



Abstract

This contribution translates and synthesises critical environmental social science research produced in Taiwan, which is published largely in Chinese. Taiwan is distinctive in east Asia in that it has had, over several decades, a relatively large and prolific community of scholars, engaged with environmental justice and sustainability. This research tradition is linked to the emergence of grassroots environmentalism in response to environmental issues faced during Taiwan's rapid industrialisation, and also in response to the democratisation of Taiwanese society from the 1980s onwards. Fuller understanding of research produced and published within in Taiwan therefore yields insights for the role of social science within newly industrialising and democratising nations. Although the story of Taiwanese society's relation to environmentalism is to an extent understood in English-language literature, less prevalent are the diverse ways Taiwanese social scientists have engaged with environmental issues, the empirical case studies which have shaped their thinking, and the influences of Western environmental sociology, and Western science and technology studies (STS) within Taiwan. By synthesising Chinese-language environmental social science literature from Taiwan, we characterise three strands of scholarship: activism and social movements; environmental controversies; and environmental governance, policy and institutions. We identify (a) the ability of communities and civil societies to affect change from within extant governance processes and (b) the local-level implications of national sustainable development rhetoric as two areas where Taiwanese scholarship may make particularly valuable contributions to work at the sustainability-environmental justice interface.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 31, 2020
Journal Local environment
Print ISSN 1354-9839
Electronic ISSN 1469-6711
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 25
Issue 1
Pages 36-42
Institution Citation HUANG, Y.-C., FAN, M.-F., YANG, C.-Y. and MABON, L. 2020. Social science studies of the environment in Taiwan: what can the international community learn from work published within Taiwan? Local environment [online], 25(1), pages 36-42. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1080/13549839.2019.1693987
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/13549839.2019.1693987
Keywords Social sciences; Environmental studies; Environmental sociology; Democratisation; Taiwan
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