The interface between police and citizens in Taiwan is no crisp confrontation between state and society. It is a thickly layered space of mediation, populated by diverse agents, authorities, institutions, and networks. This article uses an ethnographic study of this space to explore its historical and cultural organization. I assemble a series of descriptions of situations in which people sought to mobilize police powers on their behalf, sometimes successfully and sometimes unsuccessfully. I use this evidentiary basis to reflect on the cultural skills involved in making an effective call to police in democratic Taiwan. These skills, I argue, are best understood as a reflection of the meaningful foundations in which the democratic qualities of state powers have taken root in the context of Taiwan’s historical experience with modern governance.
- anthropology of police
- regime change
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Sociology and Political Science