Journal of Agrarian Change 13(2) pp 197-212

This paper examines everyday interactions, and particularly the role of traditional ritual and relationships, in the mobilization of rural social movements in Taiwan. In Chinese society, ‘guanxi’ (interpersonal relationships) are involved in everyday social interactions. Studies of collective action, such as social movements, cannot ignore the role that ‘guanxi’ play. This paper argues that collective action in Taiwan is strongly influenced by social practices, such as ‘guanxi’. The early part of the paper discusses social movement theories of social network, and briefly reviews ‘guanxi’ theory and its relationship with the concept of ‘social capital’. The later part examines the function of ‘guanxi’ in two recent social movements: the anti–No. 6/8 Naphtha Cracking Project (A6/8NCP) movement at Taixi and the anti–leather factory movement at Gouzao. These two social movements provide excellent case studies for rethinking how collective action functions in Taiwan.