Political Mobilization Strategies in Taiwan's Sunflower Student Movement on March 18, 2014: A Text-Mining Analysis of Cross-National Media Corpus

Political Mobilization Strategies in Taiwan's Sunflower Student Movement on March 18, 2014: A Text-Mining Analysis of Cross-National Media Corpus

Kenneth C. C. Yang, Yowei Kang
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1828-1.ch014
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Taiwan's Sunflower Student Movement on March 18, 2014 has been characterized as a social movement with its sophisticated integration of social and mobile media into mobilizing Taiwanese society through participant recruitment and resource mobilization domestically and globally. Ample research has contributed the roles of these emerging media platforms as one of the main reasons for its success. This study was based on resource mobilization theory (RMT) to examine the roles of new communication technologies on mobilizing resources. This chapter focuses on the resource mobilization strategies by activists and organizations of the 318 Sunflower Student Movement. A large-scale text mining study was developed to examine how cross-national English media have described this social movement in Taiwan. Results and implications were discussed.
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Taiwan’s 318 Sunflower Student Movement in 2014 has impacted and restructured the island country’s political landscape (Chiou, 2014). As predicted in an earlier study by Yang and Kang (2017), its repercussions have been widely felt in Taiwan’s subsequent presidential and legislature elections in 2016, which results in then ruling KMT’s collapse in terms of controlling central government and its majority to the opposition party, DPP. Dr. Ing-Wen Tsai ultimately became the first female president after replacing the unpopular China-friendly President Yi-Jeou Ma (Bardenhagen, 2014; Rahaula, 2015) and defeated the KMT’s Presidential candidate, Eric Chu (Bush, 2016). Dr. Tsai has won 56.1% of the popular vote, compared with 30.1% of KMT’s Eric Chu and 12.8% of PFP’s James Soong (Bush, 2016). DPP also won the dominant majority in the Legislative Yuan, achieving 68 out of 113 seats (Bush, 2016; Kuo, 2019). The sweeping victory of DPP in 2016 has given Dr. Tsai sufficient political capital for her social and political agendas (Bush, 2016). With her full control of the Legislative Yuan, DPP also finalized its pension reforms in 2017 to reduce the privileged benefits of civil servants, teachers, and military personnel (Schubert, 2017). In May, 2019, Taiwan also became the first Asia country to legalize same sex marriage (Kuo, 2019).

On March 12, 1930, Mohandas Gandhi began his march to the sea to protest British monopoly on salt in India (The History Channel, 2010), civil disobedience movement, or civil resistance movement similar to Gandhi’s, has swept most parts of the world because of many social issues related to the corporate power, unemployment (particularly among the youth and less skilled workers), income inequality, wealth distribution, etc (Penney & Dadas, 2014). The Yellow Jacket Protest in France was also triggered by French’s president’s tax reforms, but has its root in the country’s high cost of living and people’ sense of being left out by the political elites (Smith, 2018). In Hong Kong, the month-long Anti-Extradition Law Protest is also deep-rooted in the special administrative region’s rising property price and lack of opportunities for its youths (Associated Press, 2019; Chan, 2019; Pao, 2019). Like other social movements and protests, they serve as an important function in a robust democracy (Jha, 2008) when the pressure in the society needs to released, metaphorically speaking.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF): The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is the leading non-profit organization that specializes in the protection of civil liberties in the digital world. EFF was founded in 1990 and has championed user privacy, and free expression, and issues related to grassroots activism, litigation, policy analysis, and technology development.

Twitter: A social media platform that allows users to send and receive messages about 140 words, called “tweets.” This social media platform was created in March 2006 and launched by July 2006. Twitter has attracted a lot of users since its launch, due to its ease of use to deliver messages. President Trump is known for its tweets that offer disclose important policies before they are officially announced.

Resource Mobilization Theory (RMT): A major sociological theory that focuses on the resource acquisition and management to facilitate and support social movements. RMT aims to analyze the followings: 1) the acquisition of resources; 2) the mobilization of people to achieve the movement’s goals.

Arab Spring: The term refers to a revolutionary upsurge of demonstrations and protests in the Arab world, spreading from Tunisian Revolution to other countries in the Arab League on December 17, 2010. Leaders in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen have been overthrown by the end of February 2012. Repercussions of this historical event are still felt with the civil war in Syria and the collapse of ISIS regime.

Public Sphere: Habermas (1962 AU141: The in-text citation "Habermas (1962" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. , 1984) defined the concept of public sphere as “a realm of our social life in which something approaching public opinion can be formed” (p. 49). Habermas’s (1962 AU142: The in-text citation "Habermas’s (1962" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. , 1984) conceptualization of public sphere stresses the important of access to all citizens to enable them to transform from private individuals into a public body.

Co-Word Analysis: A content analysis technique that is used to map the strength of association between keywords in textual data. This technique measures the co-occurrence of keywords to examine content in the textual data. This research technique has been used in analyzing a large amount of data from social media.

Civil Society: The term, civil society, refers to a range of not-for-profit and non-governmental organizations that enable the expression of the interests and values of the public as well as their members for cultural, ethical, political, philanthropic, scientific, and religious considerations. Civil society organizations refer to charitable organizations, community groups, faith-based organizations, foundations, labor unions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), labor unions, and professional associations.

Big Data: A term that describes a large dataset that grows in size over time. It refers to the size of dataset that exceeds the capturing, storage, management, and analysis of traditional databases. The term refers to the dataset that has large, more varied, and multifaceted data structure, accompanies by difficulties of data storage, analysis, and visualization. Big Data are characterized with their high volume, velocity, and variety information assets.

Topic Modeling: A popular text mining technique from machine learning and natural language processing research. The term usually refers to a type of statistical model to discover the abstract and latent topics and to identify the hidden semantic structure that occur in media corpus.

Weibo (Microblog): The Chinese micro-blog and social networking website, equivalent to Twitter that is banned in China. Weibo , meaning microblog in Chinese, is a Chinese version of Twitter . Weibo services in China include well-known Weibo companies include Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo to offer retweeting, social sharing, and many social media functions.

Text Mining: Also, known as text analytics, is a computation method of analyzing and exploring a lot of unstructured or structure data by popular text mining software packages (such as QDA Miner, or PolyAnalyst).

Political Mobilization: The term refers to activities that intend to motivate masses of organized or unorganized participants to express themselves and to undertake a particular political action to accomplish political aims.

Chinese Jasmine Revolution: This civil society movement is also known as The 2011 Chinese Pro-democracy Protests . Chinese Jasmine Revolution was a social movement organized and mobilized through China’s popular social media, Weibo (or Microblog), to launch protests simultaneously in 13 major cities in China on the date of February 20, 2011. Despite national and international attention, the Chinese Jasmine Revolution did not lead to wide-spread protests in China, due to Chinese Communist Government’s preemptive actions. After the mass incident, a large number of dissidents had been arrested and detained by the government.

Mobile Social Media: A term to refer to social media Apps such as Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc., that are delivered via mobile devices such as smartphone, tablet, or laptop computer.

Content Filtering Mechanisms: Used as a computer program to filter or block inappropriate Internet contents before delivered to users’ end. The mechanisms function as a safeguard between the Internet and other service providers to block materials deemed objectionable by the authoritarian government.

Word Cloud Analysis: A popular text mining analytical technique to provide graphical representation of word frequency to highlight relative important words on the basis of their prominence in the media corpus or source texts.

Civil Disobedience: Proposed by the American transcendentalist, Henry David Thoreau, as a peaceful revolt against undesirable government actions, the term is equivalent to non-violent resistance to avoid enabling the government to make them the cause of injustice (such as the war with Mexico at Thoreau’s time). The term is also defined as the active, professed refusal to abide by laws, demands, and commands of any government. Recent applications of this term include Taiwan’s 318 Sunflower Movement, Hong-Kong’s Umbrella Movement, and China’s Jasmine Revolution.

Umbrella Revolution: A sit-in and civil disobedience protest in Hong-Kong that began in September 2014. Also known as umbrella movement, this movement was prompted when the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress proposed an unsatisfactory and highly restrictive electoral system reform as promised in the Basic Law. According to the reform, only pre-screened candidates in line with China’s political agendas can take part in Hong-Kong’s election. Areas such as Admiralty, Causeway Bay, and Mong Kok were occupied by the protesters for over 70 days.

Social media: Social media refer to various Internet-based applications to facilitate collaborative projects (such as Wikipedia ), microblogs and blogs, contents (such as YouTube ), social networking services (such as Facebook and Instagram ), virtual games, and virtual social life (such as Second Life ).

Online Activism: Also known as Internet activism, digital activism, online organizing, electronic advocacy, cyber-activism, online mobilization, and e-activism. The term is defined as the use of new information-communication technologies (ICTs) to support social and citizen movements.

Occupy Central with Love and Peace Movement: Refer to as a civil disobedience movement in Hong-Kong’s financial district. The movement began on September 28, 2014 to respond to whether Beijing and Hong-Kong’s government will implement universal suffrage to elect its own chief executive in 2017.

Occupy Wall Street Movement (OWS): The term refers to a protest movement that began on September 17, 2011 in Zuccotti Park, in the Wall Street financial district. The event ushered in many occupy movements around the world to challenge social and economic inequality status-quo and demands a society with more social justice.

Information-Communication Technologies (ICTs): Also abbreviated as ICTs. The term is used as an umbrella to cover all communication devices and applications such as cellular phones, computer, notebook, smartphone, tablet, and social media.

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