Trick or Treat? – Stories of Industrial Development: Ireland and Taiwan

Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


public administration, Organisation Theory

Publication Details

Friday Colloquium: Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan, October, 2014.


Both Ireland and Taiwan are considered to have experienced “economic miracles” worthy of attention for how they managed to bring about economic/industrial development. Former colonies, by the late 1940s, neither was particularly well developed economically or industrially. Both pursued state-led industrial development, first by way of import-substitution industrialization under protectionism, followed by a turn to emphasizing export-led industrialization in the late 1950s / early 1960s. However, Ireland increasingly favored embracing foreign direct investment in the face of an indigenous sector that was proving ever more unsuited to a world of falling trade barriers. Although Taiwan also welcomed foreign investment, it did so while continuing to protect and advance the development of indigenous industry. Taking the view that industrial development does not appear ready formed, as an essence that always-already existed, what is of interest in this talk is the work of producing industrial development as an on-going process. Accordingly, and through the lens of actor-network theory (ANT), the talk will follow how industrial development was “performed” in both countries between the late 1940s and late 1960s.