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East Asian Culture and Democratic Transition, With Special Reference to the Case of Taiwan

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The purpose of this paper is to examine the factors contributing to recent democratic transitions in East Asia with special reference to the case of Taiwan. The study of Taiwan's democratization process provides us with interesting theoretical implications. Despite its Confucian heritage, Taiwan decided to move toward democratization. Attitudinal change on the part of both the general public and the political élites was certainly an important factor, but the emergence of a (quasi-)pluralistic social order may have been more consequential. The study concludes that a political culture with strong group consciousness is not necessarily detrimental to democratization.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Government and International Studies, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208 U.S.A.


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