Digital democracy and territorialization in Taiwan

Authors: Max Woodworth*, The Ohio State University
Topics: Political Geography, Asia, Cyberinfrastructure
Keywords: Taiwan, digital democracy, territory, direct democracy
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 31
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Taiwan’s ambiguous and contested territorial status and its position at the forefront of digital technology innovations are two important features that make it an intriguing case study for understanding the relation between state power and territory. Empirically, this paper explores how two of Taiwan’s recent digital democracy initiatives – gØv (zero-government) and vTaiwan – reterritorialize state power through network systems by producing online channels for trans-local grassroots engagement and oversight. Both platforms, which originated outside state agencies among digital democracy activists and have been absorbed into the portfolio of the Digital Minister and are now integrated in inter-ministerial working groups, employ crowdsourcing techniques to generate solutions to domestic regulatory questions and bring new public oversight to government budgets. The development of digital democracy platforms further serves as a soft-power public diplomacy strategy abroad, as Taiwanese delegations travel widely to demonstrate and promote its systems. This paper traces links between Taiwan’s digital democracy agenda and global radical direct democracy activism and examines how digital territorialization acts doubly to transcend territorial moorings of the regulatory state while enabling innovations in this realm to advance national territorial definition.

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