More Parties More Problems: Movement Party Formation and Institutionalization in Taiwan

Key information

4:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Brunei Gallery

About this event

Lev Nachman

As part of the 2022 SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies Summer School, we kindly ask that you register to attend.

*Please be aware that this session follows British Summer Time (BST).

Also available via Microsoft Teams


How and why do some social movements successfully transition into political parties? Why do some new movement parties successfully institutionalize into fully formed party organizations while others struggle? Within one year after the Sunflower Movement, Taiwan saw the formation of a host of new Third Force political parties. Two in particular, the New Power Party (NPP) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP), became the frontrunners of Taiwan’s new wave of movement parties. Over the course of 2016-2020, the NPP and SDP rode waves of growth while also facing major setbacks to their party’s institutionalization process. Based on five years of qualitative in-depth interviews with social movement leaders and participants, politicians, and movement party founders, along with participatory observation of movement party events and activities, I show how and why the NPP and SDP transitioned successfully after the Sunflower Movement, but later struggled with their institutionalization process. Using comparative historical analysis and process tracing, I argue that necessary conditions for movement party formation were ideal after the Sunflower Movement, but this did not alleviate the challenges that come with new party formation. Once parties formed, a new set of challenges emerged that come with starting a new political party. I conclude with what this means for movement party scholars and how observers of Taiwanese politics might consider the future of Third Force parties.

Speaker's Bio

Dr. Lev Nachman is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Harvard University Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. He holds his Ph.D in political science from the University of California-Irvine and MA from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. His research has been funded by the Fulbright Program, Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Fieldwork, the Stimson Center, and the Jack Peltason Center for the Study of Democracy, and the Global Taiwan Institute. His research has been published in academic journals including Political Research Quarterly and Asian Survey. He occasionally contributes op-eds on East Asian Politics to Foreign Policy and The Monkey Cage, and comments regularly on East Asian politics and has been featured in outlets including the New York Times and CNN.

Organiser: Centre of Taiwan Studies

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