Legitimate force in a particularistic democracy: Street police and outlaw legislators in the Republic of China on Taiwan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article explores a "particularistic" concept of legitimacy important to Taiwanese democracy. This form of legitimacy, I suggest, has been instrumental for Taiwan's successful democratic consolidation in the absence of the rule of law. As evidence, I combine ethnographic observation of neighborhood police work with historical consideration of a type of political figure emergent in the process of democratic reform, which I call the "outlaw legislator." I focus my analysis on the institutional and ideological processes articulating local policing into the wider political field. The center of these processes is a mode of popular representation that positions the outlaw legislator as a crucial hinge articulating the particularistic local order with central state powers. By analyzing the cultural content of the dramaturgical work used to reconcile low policing with higher-level state operations, this article shows how a particularistic idiom of legitimacy helps hold Taiwanese democracy together.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)615-642
Number of pages28
JournalLaw and Social Inquiry
Volume38
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

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republic
Taiwan
legitimacy
police
democracy
China
constitutional state
consolidation
reform
evidence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Law

Cite this

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