Co-founder, Taiwan Reach-Out Association for Democracy
Yen-Ting Hsu is a PhD student in Sociology and Science Studies at UC San Diego, and a co-founder of Taiwan Reach-Out Association for Democracy. His research interests lie at the intersection of participatory democracy and sociology of expertise. He acted as a practitioner for “Participatory Budgeting in Taichung City” in 2016 and coordinated “Civic Forum on Taiwan’s Community Empowerment Policy 3.0 and Participatory Budgeting” in 2017 prior to his academic journey in San Diego.
Why do you believe innovations in participatory democracy are important?
Recent scholarship has identified a participatory turn in modern democratic governance. While the idea of civic engagement is celebrated from the Global South to the Global North, there is no universal method guaranteed to stimulate local participation. Therefore, innovation counts especially in forging collaboration between government and civil society. To do so, the key is to come up with proper translation. From my previous experience as a PB practitioner, I see a demand for translating our everyday language to policy language on public needs. On the other hand, there is also a demand for translating policy language to daily usage so that more people can understand their public life will be affected. Such innovation in fostering bi-directional communication requires collective wisdom. That’s why I look forward to sharing my stories and learning from other participants’ experiences in this conference.
What do you hope to see at the 2018 Innovations in Participatory Democracy Conference?
I would like to see how social actors from their different positions perceive what participatory democracy means to them and how they innovate their engagement methods.