Science policymakers in newly democratic Taiwan grapple with a central tension of how to construct policies that both conform to international standards and properly represent Taiwan’s people. Based on more than sixteen months of ethnographic research, over a hundred interviews, and archival data, I examine how stem cell research-related policymaking was assembled in Taiwan. I pay particular attention to the intersections of global and local, and to articulations of democracy, sovereignty, and identity as they relate to stem cell research governance. While much has been written on science and democracy in established democratic societies, relatively little has addressed the relationship between emergent democracies and emergent sciences. I suggest that studies in Taiwan as it transitions from technocratic to democratic authority help to make visible the diverse logics and multiple considerations that shape both biotech and its governance in an emergent science democracy.

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