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Taiwan Research Programme
London School of Economics and Political Science
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London, WC2A 2AE


Professor Stephan Feuchtwang

Dr Fang-Long Shih

The Change of Local Society in the Context of Globalization: case studies on local communities in Taiwan and Poland

With Mr Fu-Sheng Shih (Jagiellonian University, Poland)

Series: Seminar on Taiwan in Comparative Perspective 

Date: Thursday 15 November 2007, 6pm-8pm

Venue: Seligman Library (Room A607), Old Building, London School of Economics (LSE)

Chair: Professor Stephan Feuchtwang (Taiwan Culture Research Programme)


This study focuses on the impact of foreign investment on local development and social change, as seen in local communities in Taiwan and Poland. Two case studies are considered: the investment by Bayer in Wu-chi town, Taiwan, during the 1990s, which ended in failure, and the investment of Coca Cola in Niepolomice, Poland, at the beginning of the 2000s. The author considers how the global economy has led to changes in central and local governance, and by examining the two communities he shows how changes in society and social relations are connected to their development experiences.

Despite great differences in geographical location and recent political background, Poland and Taiwan share a quite similar historical pattern. The end of martial law in Taiwan in 1987 was just two years before Solidarity brought change to Polish society, and in both countries the privatization of state-owned enterprises has had an impact on the domestic economy. Both also show a determination to become integrated into the modern global economy: Taiwan joined the WTO in 2002, and Poland joined the EU in 2004.

New organs of global governance have affected the relationship between central and local government, and new social groups work between these authorities on both global and local issues. These changes have been accompanied by new stratagems of investment by multinational companies, resulting in new forms of social mobilization as well. This raises some questions which this study examines: how have these changes come about, and what social changes have they engendered in local communities? In what ways are the development experiences of Poland and Taiwan similar and in what ways different?

About the speaker

Mr Fu-Sheng Shih is a PhD student in the Department of Rural Sociology and Agrarian Relations at Jagiellonian University, Krakow. He has an MA in Sociology from Soochow University, Taipei, Taiwan. He is currently researching changes in local communities in the era of globalization and translating a history Poland from Polish into Chinese. For 2004-05, he wrote the 'Global Views' column for the China Times.