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Controversies about Religious Organisations within an Evolving Taiwan Civil Society

In: International Journal of Taiwan Studies
Author:
Richard MadsenDistinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA, rmadsen@ucsd.edu

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Abstract

A staple of political theory is that democracy depends on a vibrant civil society. What are the indicators of such a society? Is it the number of voluntary associations, their relative independence from government, the content of their activities, their systemic relationships with one another—and/or the way the relationships among these variables are evolving over time? In this paper, I place special emphasis on the systemic relationships among civil society organisations and their evolution over time, and I revisit some of the findings from the book Democracy’s Dharma to show how this emphasis might offer a new perspective on the development of Taiwan’s civil society today.

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