In the 1980s and 1990s, Taiwan underwent a dramatic transformation from single-party authoritarian rule to a vibrant multi-party democracy. The transformation spawned a number of studies about Taiwan’s democratisation as part of the so-called ‘Third Wave’. Today, Taiwan ranks among the highest among liberal and electoral democracies in indices like V-Dem.

However, Taiwan’s four decades of authoritarian rule continue to challenge Taiwanese society today even after democratisation. Coming to a social consensus on how to address the abuses and excesses of the authoritarian period as part of transitional justice has proven to be difficult and controversial. Marginalised groups, such as Taiwanese Indigenous Peoples, face challenges even within Taiwan’s democratic landscape. Social movements and political parties still grapple with the legacies of authoritarian rule, as institutions and norms from decades ago continue to structure the present. Meanwhile, in comparison to the rest of Asia and the world, Taiwan’s democracy appears to be increasingly unique as other societies around the world face democratic backsliding and a resurgence of authoritarianism.

This call invites authors to submit proposals for inclusion in a topical section dedicated to the theme of postauthoritarianism and democratic transition in Taiwan. The editors are keen especially for papers that visit the question of postauthoritarianism and democratic transition with new approaches or revisionist arguments, either in the past or present. Possible examples include:

  • The rise of nostalgia for authoritarianism. Recent political figures have campaigned either on platforms that harken back to the authoritarian era under Kuomintang rule or have campaigned with family legacies from the period. What explains changing attitudes for or against authoritarianism?
  • Transitional justice as a postauthoritarian phenomenon. As elements of Taiwan society continue to seek justice for past authoritarian abuses, how do we understand the controversies and challenges they face?
  • Marginalisation under democratic transition. While democracies often represent liberal values of equality and justice, many groups continue to experience marginalisation. Taiwan’s recent MeToo movement shows that gender inequality and patriarchy still persist within political and social structures. Indigenous peoples who have attempted to assert their own identity in a democratic society face challenges of recognition stemming from authoritarian norms and legacies. How should we understand the challenges of marginalised peoples under postauthoritarian societies?
  • Authoritarian institutions and norms in a postauthoritarian society. While Taiwanese society has moved to support a liberal democracy, many aspects of Taiwanese politics are still structured by its authoritarian past. From the rigid hierarchy of its military, which bears increasing scrutiny as Taiwan faces external threats, to its legal and constitutional structures that derive from the early years of KMT rule and affect major social situations today such as Indigenous rights and Taiwan’s international status, how do these institutions and norms affect the present?
  • Postcolonialism and decolonisation. Scholars have argued that Taiwan’s authoritarian rule under the KMT should be seen as a form of settler colonialism. Democratisation simultaneously went hand-in-hand with a decolonisation from the Sinicisation and colonial policies of the KMT. How do processes of authoritarian-to-democratic transition and decolonisation inform each other? Can we explain postauthoritarianism from the lens of postcolonialism?
  • Postauthoritarianism in a regional and global perspective. As Taiwan’s democracy remains resilient, especially after the Sunflower Movement nearly a decade ago, other democracies across the world have not fared as well. Coups and authoritarian nostalgia have resurfaced in all corners of the world. How do we explain Taiwan’s unique resiliency, or is Taiwan also at risk of authoritarian resurgence?

Please send an abstract of no more than 500 words and a 150-word short author bio to guest editors Bill Lavely at lavely@uw.edu, Chun-yi Lee at Chun-Yi.Lee@nottingham.ac.uk, and James Lin at jyslin@uw.edu.


Deadlines:
By 31st October 2023: Submission of abstract to guest editors
By 15 December 2023: Invitation from guest editors for manuscript submission
By 31st March 2024: Submit full papers online to the IJTS for double-blind peer review