The Call of Human Nature: Governmentality and Sexual Offence Prevention Policy in Taiwan

Author Info
Kevin Chien-Chang Wu
Department of Social Medicine, National Taiwan University College of Medicine;Department of Psychiatry, National Taiwan University College of Medicine and National Taiwan University Hospital

Since about ten years ago, in Taiwan, there have been booming legislative and administrative activities for female equality and protection. Sexual offence prevention policy is one the most important issues in the trend. Severe sexual crimes shocked society. Media abounds with reports and comments on sexual offenders. Statutes and regulations regarding sexual offence prevention have been revised frequently. Law governs people based on its understanding of human nature. The evolution of sexual offence prevention policy especially involves re-configuring sexual offenders' human nature. In From Dangerousness to Risk, Castel argued that the management of mentally ill offenders has transited from expert discipline of dangerousness to administrative governance of risk. Many criminologists also argued that the neoliberal risk concept is becoming dominant in criminal justice policy making in the United Kingdom and the United States. Following the U.S. trend, does Taiwan's policy making in sexual offence prevention have the abovementioned linear evolution? Or, is there sluggishness or irregularity in the development of Taiwan's sexual offence policy making? Based on a review of the U.S. and U.K. literature on risk-oriented criminal justice policy, this paper examines the operation of governmentality in Taiwan's sexual offence policy making. As governmentality includes both risk governance and precautionary principle, the paper shows the irregularity of Taiwan's sexual offence prevention policy. It argues that the irregularity in adopting risk governance policy originates from the fragmented configurations of human nature. Finally, it addresses the social and ethical implications of the irregularity in sexual offence policy making.

Taiwanese Journal for Studies of Science, Technology and Medicine, Number 6 (April 2008), 69-110.