SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

Elections, Gender and Social Movements in Taiwan

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 3
Taught in:
Term 1

This is a unique undergraduate module focusing on Taiwan’s domestic politics. After an overview of Taiwan’s experience of authoritarian rule and democratic transition, the module has three main themes: (1) Taiwan’s electoral and party politics, (2) contested gender politics, (3) social movements. Taiwan is an intriguing case for all these themes. It’s often called the first Chinese democracy and has the most stable party system in East Asian democracies. With the highest levels of female political representation, it is seen as one of the most equal societies in the region, but referendums have recently rejected same sex marriage. Moreover, it has a reputation for a critical and vibrant civil society, with social movements often able to influence or change government policies. Students on the course will be encouraged to test social science theories and frameworks to understand Taiwan’s democratic politics. This will involve examination of a range of election and social movement case studies.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  • Provide policy relevant analysis of Taiwan’s domestic politics.
  • make formal oral class presentations and engage in discussions on the subject
  • employ political science frameworks to analyse Taiwan’s domestic politics
  • engage with the academic literature on Taiwan’s political development
  • produce analytical written work on Taiwan’s domestic politics.


2 hours seminar per week

Scope and syllabus

  1. Introduction to Taiwan’s Politics and Authoritarianism in Taiwan
  2. Taiwan’s Democratic Transition: Parties, Social Movements and Gender
  3. Electoral Politics and Voting Behaviour in Taiwan
  4. Democracy and National Identity
  5. Party Politics in Taiwan
  6. Politics of Gender Representation
  7. Taiwan’s feminist movement
  8. Struggle for LBTQ Rights
  9. Taiwan’s Party Politics and social movements 2000-2010
  10. Taiwan’s Party Politics and social movements since 2010 

Method of assessment

Assessments: AS1 30%, AS2 60%, and 10% presentation


Suggested reading

  1. Fell, Dafydd (2018). Government and Politics in Taiwan.
  2. Sullivan, Jonathan (2014): New trends in Taiwan politics research available at: 
  3. Chu, Yun-han and Lin Jih-wen (2001). “Political Development in 20th Century Taiwan: State Building, Regime Transformation and the Construction of National Identity.” China Quarterly 165: pp. 102-129.
  4. Rigger, Shelley (2018). “Studies on Taiwan’s Democracy and Democratisation,” International Journal of Taiwan Studies , February 2018, Vol. 1 Issue: 1 p141-160.
  5. Rigger, Shelley (1999). Politics in Taiwan: Voting for Democracy
  6. Fan Yun and Wu Wei-ting, “The Long Feminist March in Taiwan,” in Schubert ed Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Taiwan, 313-325.
  7. Hughes, Chris (2016). Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Taiwan. Chapter 10.
  8. Huang Chang-Ling (2017) Uneasy Alliance: State Feminism and the Conservative Government in Taiwan in Fell ed Social Movements under Ma Ying-jeou. Chapter 14.
  9. Yu-Rong, Chen & Ping, Wang, “Obstacles to LGBT Human Rights Development in Taiwan,” Positions: east asia cultures critique. Vol. 18 Issue 2. 2010, pp.399-407. 


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules