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Professor, Dept. of Civic Education and Leadership, National Taiwan Normal University.
Critical Citizens in Taiwan Revisited: 2008-2016 Download
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From a typological perspective, this paper addresses Taiwanese citizens’ attitudes to democracy and applies the modernization paradigm and the ‘election losers’ explanation to clarify the origins of critical citizens. By examining the TEDS survey data conducted after the three presidential elections held from
2008 to 2016, we find that, first, the proportion of critical citizens remained stable over time, while those of the other types changed along with the election results. Second, the comparison across different types of democratic attitudes suggests that critical citizens in Taiwan hold some critical traits, but they are older citizens rather than representatives of the young generation as expected. Also, the explanation that ‘election losers tend to be critical citizens’ can be confirmed only when the green camp of voters is on the losing side; when the blue camp loses the election, voters on the losing side are inclined to be democratic alienators, carrying negative implications for democratic legitimacy. Overall, the critical citizens in Taiwan originate from the combination of the modernization paradigm and the election-losers explanation. The findings of this paper imply that democratic legitimacy in Taiwan continues to deepen after two elections resulting in a change in the ruling party; however, the young generation’s view and electoral competition, as shown, may result in different meanings.