SOAS University of London

Centre of Taiwan Studies

Brightening the Dark Side of “Linking Social Capital”? Negotiating Conflicting Visions of Post-Morakot Reconstruction in Taiwan

Professor Ming-cheng Lo

Date: 1 July 2019Time: 3:00 PM

Finishes: 1 July 2019Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: KLT

Type of Event: Talk

LMC Morakot


After Typhoon Morakot in 2009, the Taiwanese Government, aided by a large NGO, promoted unpopular agendas of reconstruction, which resulted in local tensions and grassroots disempowerment. Engaging literature on social capital and drawing on 48 in-depth interviews, our study discusses how three villages -- Namaxia, Jialan, and Ali -- mobilized bonding and bridging ties to resist these top-down agendas, which were channeled through unhealthy linking ties. In Namaxia, as linking ties fractured their community, villagers could not mobilize strong enough bonding or bridging ties to counteract the damages. In Jialan, bonding ties were mobilized to counteract unhealthy linking ties, but these bonding ties could not pool together sufficient cultural resources to consolidate grassroots visions. In Ali, bonding ties facilitated resistance; bridging ties channeled cultural resources for actualizing grassroots reconstruction visions. Our case addresses the theoretical question of how bonding and bridging ties may potentially mitigate the dark side of linking ties. 

Speaker Biography

LMC Profile

Ming-Cheng Miriam Lo is professor of sociology at the University of California, Davis. Having grown up in Taiwan and completed her doctoral training in the United States, Professor Lo is actively engaged in research activities in Asia as well as the English-speaking world, meanwhile pursuing productive conversations across these cultural divides. She is the author of Doctors within Borders: Profession, Ethnicity, and Modernity in Colonial Taiwan (University of California Press, 2002; Japanese edition published in 2014). She co-edited the Handbook of Cultural Sociology (Routledge, 2010; Second edition published in 2019). Professor Lo has published widely on health, culture, and civil society in a number of sociology journals.

* All SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies are free and open to all to attend. We suggest you arrive a few minutes early at the venue to secure your seat.

Organiser: SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies

Contact email: