This paper focuses on analyzing the actor-network which has been built by university and local communities based on the Humanity Innovation and Social Practice (HISP) project. We intend to explore the complicated translation processes between different actors after linking them together. Accordingly, we suggest a new theoretical approach in community empowerment studies, that is, a Bottom-up-Local-Open-Reassembling (BLOR) actor-network. Confronted by a risk society derived from globalization, the BLOR actor-network particularly fits such a context due to its fault-tolerant and malleable traits. These traits make it beneficial to appreciate the local context and open participation, and facilitate collective brainstorming to find innovative solutions. This paper assumes the community to be a place with heterogeneous components and openness. The university works in partnership with local communities and co-constructs a social practice actor-network to respond to social problems. The university-community partnership seeks to overcome the limitations of current community empowerment projects such as working as a closed system and power centralization. The university serves as a medium for linking different issues with different groups of community actors and translating different cultural traits among diverse actors, which generates an open and intertwined social practice network, namely, the BLOR actor-network, which is rooted in this region. The BLOR actor-network is not fixed. Instead, it reassembles itself according to the changes in its components, needs and social context, in order to enable heterogeneous components to coexist. In this paper, we emphasize not only the traits of the BLOR actor-network, but also the mechanisms that enable these components to co-function. With this objective in mind, we adopt two cases from the HIPS project to illustrate what the mechanisms are and how they function.
Volume #22, Number #2
Published in December, 2018
This paper examines why members of a security alliance raise disputes with their allies in public and the impact of such disputes on alliance relations. Allies sometimes have problems when they cooperate under a security alliance. Members of an alliance may have different views about how to enforce the alliance agreement; they may find their allies incapable of providing the security benefit they promised; or they may claim that their allies’ actions are harmful to mutual security interests. Allies may raise disputes to address these concerns on alliance cooperation. This paper examines the 187 bilateral alliance treaties between 1945 and 2007 with original data on alliance disputes. The large-N analysis shows that the rise of external threats, power preponderance between allies, and joining a democracy have a positive impact on members’ decisions to raise public disputes. This paper further finds that public disputes increase the risk of treaty violations. Alliances that have experienced open arguments about security cooperation are less likely to be sustained.
When applied to a discussion of political accountability, the principal-agent theory implicitly assumes that citizens fully understand what the government is responsible for. Given their understanding of government responsibility, citizens can reward or sanction the incumbent based on the government’s performance. This paper reexamines the above assumption and the applicability of the principal-agent theory in political accountability. To be specific, we investigate how citizens perceive government responsibility and how the perception influences citizens’ support for the incumbent. We argue that when they regard the government as being more responsible for social problems, citizens are more likely to hold the incumbent government accountable for its performance. To test our hypothesis, we analyze data for a survey conducted in Kaohsiung City, New Taipei City, and Taichung City. The results show that the voters in New Taipei City are more likely to hold the incumbent government accountable when they think the government should be more responsible for social problems. This finding, however, does not hold in our analysis of Kaohsiung City and Taichung City.
Many factors lie behind women being under-represented in politics, such as an uneven distribution of social, economic, and political resources, or traditional gender role expectations for females. These limitations prevent women from standing for elections. Few empirical studies have been conducted on examining the association between an electoral system, an electoral competition and the gender differences of running for elections and getting elected. This article aims to bridge the gap on this matter by focusing on the influence of the female reserved seat system in Taiwan. As such, this article further discusses if the reserved seat system serves as an incentive for political parties in nominating female candidates. The degree of electoral competition also plays a role in affecting the chances of getting elected. In this article we will examine this issue as well.
By analyzing city and county council election results from 2002 to 2010, with the electoral district and candidates as the unit of analysis, this article concludes that: (1) political parties tend to nominate more female candidates as the electoral magnitude increases; (2) more females are willing to run in the elections as there are more reserved seats available, with the electoral district serving as the unit of analysis. However, the results show that the incumbent, electoral competition, and party nomination are important factors accounting for a female’s success, with candidates as the unit of analysis; (3) the more competitive the electoral districts are, the less possible it is for females to run in elections and get elected.