The technopolitics in the sociotechnical system of energy of Taiwan
My doctoral research explores the key aspects of modernity and socio-technological system of energy in Taiwan, stressing the legacy of developmental state and high modernism in the post-war Taiwan as it is still fostering the regime of energy in Taiwanese society today.
High modernism is a particular sociotechnical imagination which aims for rapid industrialization in order to achieve national economic wellbeing and the status of autonomy. ‘The well to develop’ manifests itself by supporting the nationalist-pragmatist rationality in the public controversy over energy and the relevant policy-making.
Through an initial analysis, three key areas emerge as the key research cases, which are constitutive to the undergoing struggle of modernisation－the struggle of what a better society should be; The first is the quest for energy future in the context of Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, especially when its consequence received huge media attention and invoked an outcry for the reconsideration of current energy assemblage; the question of power shortage is in the central of the debate. The second is energy price, in particular, the feed-in-tariff of the renewables, which underlies the fundamental question posed by high modernists: is this a future affordable and reasonable? The third is the materialised photovoltaic installation site which is built with local concerns and the reflection of indigenous environment characteristics. This alternative is made possible through the negotiation in the local community and the mobilisation of practical knowledge in installing process. However, this materialisation is encountering multiple challenges.
Drawing on the observation above, this research is looking for the rationality that is presented by key actors through engaging discourse story-lines, discursive strategies and institutional arrangements, which are performed through and understood by sociotechnical choices. I ask how the better society in the nationalist-pragmatist vision is made through the claim of and the construction of technological necessity, and how alternatives of energy future, if not without conditions and constraints, are possible.