Technology, Democracy and Citizenship: The Case of Incinerator Ash Facility Siting in Ankeng





Published date: 

June, 2008


Mei-Fang Fan


The concept of citizenship has become an increasingly important theme in technological and environmental debates. This paper introduces the theory of technological citizenship, examines the practice of citizenship in the context of the incinerator ash facility siting controversy in Ankeng, and highlights the current problems of environmental governance. The case shows the politics of experts and hegemony of scientific rationality, and the problem of constraints on the practice of citizenship. The environmental impact assessment process and decision-making lack a consideration of the total amount of endangerment and the recognition of local, contextualized knowledge and experiences. Local activists challenge the structure of power and legitimacy of the project, and fight for the rights of technological citizenship and the good life. This paper argues for the need to empower citizens to challenge the decision-making process dominated by technocracy and experts. Recognition of citizen knowledge and experiences as well as genuine dialogue among stakeholders will improve risk governance and facilitate the practice of citizenship.