Writing an ethgraphy of democracy, the author masterfully offers us thick descriptions and a critical analysis of a multifaceted Taiwanese society. Contrasting with mainstream researches on political cultures which rely heavily on survey data and statistical analysis, Democracy on Trial offers us a fresh alternative--an anthropology-inspired and contextually rich study, a classic in the making. Based on first hand materials, he traces a genealogy of pivotal concepts, such as sovereignty, identity and locality, which are at the heart of construction of Taiwan's democratic discourse, and investigates how democracy has been experienced as a way of life from the standpoints of various subjects, including social movement participants, urban community members, ethnic activists. The book thus well explores the complex and loaded meaning of democracy.
Ya-Chung Chuang has a Ph.D. from Duke University, USA and teaches anthropology in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan