世新大學社會發展研究所
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Graduate Institute for Social Transformation Studies

Introduction
With his unalloyed ethical principles, Mr. Cheng She-Wo, the founder of Shih-Hsin University, has devoted his lifetime in education, journalism and politics often in defiance to the powerful and the wealthy. During the martial-law decades, Shih-Hsin appointed to its faculty numerous dissent intellectuals who were persecuted and prevented from employment elsewhere. As a safe haven for freedom of ideas and expression, the university thus became a natural choice for dissidents, who, regardless of their vastly diverse political views, could share the podium and enjoy the freedom afforded by Shih-Hsin. The university is proud of its heritage as an active participant in the history of Taiwan’s democratic movement.

  While one-party dictatorship of the martial-law days no longer exists in the 21st-century Taiwan, what concerns us even more pressingly today is the global crises ignited by the moribund capitalism. Such dire crises call for more daring and persevere intellectual inquiries, to shaken the received wisdoms, to unflinchingly challenge the established theories and methods of the social sciences which are rendered ineffective by history, and to seek out new paths for social development. The Institute for Social Transformation Studies hopes to provide an open and democratic space for intellectuals who devote themselves to such enterprises.

  Founded in August 1997, the Institute for Social Transformation Studies was the first graduate school to introduce development studies into Taiwan's academe. The Institution's main goal is to seek out paths for social development that can serve as alternatives to the dictates of both market competition and state commands.

  Under the process of globalization, tremendous political-economic changes have been taking place all over the world since the late 20th century. In vast quantity and speed, the flow of capital, commodity, culture, information and labor across borders comprise the most salient phenomena in today's world. Such development also leads to increasingly diverse local identities and constructions of subjectivities. Facing the worsening ecological and socio-cultural crises, development studies, hitherto concerned most with economic growth, has also experienced a radical shift of paradigm. Balanced, sustainable and participatory development is now the central themes in this discipline.

  Although Taiwan’s GDP per capita has passed the US$ 10 thousand benchmark in 1992, noticeable signs indicate that such growth is deformed. Turmoil in the state and the society, growing income gap, deterioration of the environment, and many other problems demand better balanced and organic paths to make development serve human needs instead of mere growth in material wealth.

  In addition, globalization is giving rise to a proliferation of international organizations and regulations, in areas such as intellectual property rights, ecological protection, anti-pollution measures, and consumer and producer rights. Taiwan must face these and other issues that it has neglected in the past, and develop an effective response.

  Contemporary paradigm of social development calls for active, well-motivated participation of all stakeholders, in a principally bottom-up approach. The rising communalism in both urban and rural Taiwan in recent years, and the increasingly diverse and active civic organizations provides a hopeful future for such a democratic vision. New ideas, new means and projects are needed in order to make this emerging trend of social development genuinely progressive. This is a crucial part to consolidate Taiwan's democratic movement, and to build a plural democratic society based on individuality and protection for the rights of the oppressed.

Contacts
TEL: 886-2-2236-8225 ext. 63512
FAX:886-2-2236-5732
Email: e62@cc.shu.edu.tw


 
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電話:02-2236-8225#63512 傳真:02-2236-5732
E-mail:e62@cc.shu.edu.tw 地址:116台北市文山區木柵路一段111號7樓
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