Making Community Work: A Case Study of Lin-Bien

Volume 03, Issue 4

Making Community Work: A Case Study of Lin-Bien will inspire scholars interested in the tangled history of technology and society. Its broad implications will prove relevant to science, technology, and society (STS) studies, the social and cultural history of Taiwan, and sociological theory.

Hongren Yang asks a very basic question: How does Taiwanese society change? With the eye of a social anthropologist, the author approaches that question through a fruit. The history of the Black Pearl, lianwu in Chinese or wax apple (Syzygium samarangense), examined through the lens of “local practice,” allows Yang to trace the evolution of planting techniques and their connection to local politics and community development. The threads of politics, community, and agricultural techniques are neatly woven into a fabric that describes social and technical processes. The results speak to several academic debates, and in a very practical way, we come to see how, within a discrete social movement, professional knowledge and technical systems relate to lay practitioners' in the context of STS, how political forces transform/translate the factions in a local community, and how the cultural logic of a professional community's public discourse can articulate a village community's traditional discourse.

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