Book Launch: "Civil Society and the State in Democratic East Asia: Between Entanglement and Contention in Post High Growth"

Key information

5:00 pm to 6:30 pm
Virtual Event

About this event

Simona Grano, Mary Alice Haddad, Tobias Weiss, Tommy Chung Yin Kwan, Dafydd Fell

This session will be held using Microsoft Teams .


With a special focus on environmentalism in Taiwan, our panel of authors will discuss their research contributions to the collaborative publication "Civil Society and the State in Democratic East Asia: Between Entanglement and Contention in Post High Growth."

"Civil Society and the State in Democratic East Asia: Between Entanglement and Contention in Post High Growth" focuses on the new and diversifying interactions between civil society and the state in contemporary East Asia by including cases of entanglement and contention in the three fully consolidated democracies in the area: Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. The contributions to this book argue that all three countries have reached a new era of post high growth and mature democracy, leading to new social anxieties and increasing normative diversity, which have direct repercussions on the relationship between the state and civil society. It introduces a comparative perspective in identifying and discussing similarities and differences in East Asia based on in-depth case studies in the fields of environmental issues, national identities as well as neoliberalism and social inclusion that go beyond the classic dichotomy of state vs ‘liberal’ civil society.

Speaker Biographies

Simona A. Grano is Senior Lecturer at the University of Zurich and Director of the Taiwan Studies Project at UZH. She completed her Ph.D. in Chinese Studies at Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Italy. She has held research positions and taught China Studies and Taiwan Studies at her alma mater, at the university of Zurich in Switzerland and at National Cheng'chi University in Taiwan. She has also been a visiting scholar at the University of Hong Kong and is a research fellow of the European Research Center on Contemporary Taiwan (ERCCT), in Tübingen, Germany.

Simona's regional expertise centers on the People's Republic of China as well as on Taiwan and Hong Kong. Simona is the author of Environmental Governance in Taiwan: a new generation of activists and stakeholders, which has been published in 2015 by Routledge. At the University of Zürich Simona teaches several courses related to China's political landscape and society as well as on Taiwan's social and political transformations in the past 30 years. She regularly contributes to Swiss and global media through articles, commentaries and interviews.

Mary Alice Haddad is Professor of Government, East Asian Studies, and Environmental Studies at Wesleyan University, United States. Her current work concerns environmental politics in East Asia, especially China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. Her earlier books focused on civic engagement, democracy, citizenship, volunteering and non-prof it organizations. A Fulbright and Harvard Academy scholar, Haddad is the author of "Building Democracy in Japan" (Cambridge University Press, 2012) and "Politics and Volunteering in Japan: A Global Perspective" (Cambridge University Press, 2007) and co-editor with Carol Hager of "NIMBY Is Beautiful: Cases of Local Activism" and "Environmental Innovation around the World" (Berghahn, 2015). She has published in journals such as Comparative Political Studies, Democratization, Journal of Asian Studies, and Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.

Tobias Weiss is Research Fellow at Heidelberg University, Germany. In January 2018, he finished his PhD at the University of Zurich. His main research focus is on civil society, mass media and politics in Japan. His most recent publications include Auf der Jagd nach der Sonne. Das journalistische Feld und die Atomkraft in Japan (Nomos, 2019); ‘Journalistic Autonomy and Frame Sponsoring: Explaining Japan’s “Nuclear Blind Spot” with Field Theory,’ Poetics (2019); ‘Japan’s Pro-nuclear Civil Society: Power in the Analysis of Social Capital and Civil Society,’ Journal of Civil Society (2019).

Tommy Chung Yin Kwan is a PhD candidate in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, UK, currently focusing on the relationship between political parties and social movements in Taiwan. He was a visiting associate at Academia Sinica. He is also a writer and a regular contributor to the Chinese-language Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao. He comments on the political and cultural scenes in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Dafydd Fell is Reader in Comparative Politics with special reference to Taiwan at the Department of Politics and International Studies of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, UK. He is also the Director of the SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies. He has published numerous articles on political parties and electioneering in Taiwan. His latest book as single author is "Government and Politics in Taiwan," 2nd ed. (Routledge, 2018) while his latest edited book is "Taiwan’s Social Movements under Ma Ying-Jeou: From the Wild Strawberries to the Sunflowers" (Routledge, 2017).

Organiser: SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies

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