Dr. Li-Wen Shih

Contact information:

Job title

Associate Professor

Office phone number

02-2736-1661 Ext. 8635

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PhD     Sociology Department, Lancaster University, UK 
MA      Sociology Department, Tung-Hai University, Taiwan  
BA       Sociology Department, Tung-Hai University, Taiwan  

Research Interests

I am a Sociologist and my research centers on reproduction, and explores the fluidity of bodies,  technologies care practices.

  1. Reproduction
  2. Reproductive Technologies
  3. Women's Reproductive Health
  4. Science, Technology and Society 
  5. Qualitative research methods
  6. Danish Maternity Care

I have always been concerned with how care activities and reproductive technologies (re)construct decision-making subjects towards uncertainty and risk assessment in society, and this has drawn me to focus on several topics :
a) Informatics interpretation: for example, how digital technology such as ultrasound scans articulates the foetus inside the mother's womb and enacts the body;
b) Geneticization: for example, how genetic technologies provide new accounts of the idea of health and change the idea of life;
c) Decision-making and accountability: for example, how women's decisions about genetic testing and childbirth are entangled with cultural, social and medical practices.

Engaging in ethnographic studies enables me to explore the dynamics of collective, material-semiotic practice. This is one of the ways in which I wish to explore daily practices of care.

While my research initially was focused on the Taiwanese health care system, I have through several years to an increasing degree engaged in cross-cultural comparative analysis focusing both on Taiwan and Denmark. My interest in new biomedical technologies has led to collaboration with colleagues in the School of Medicine at Taipei Medical University and clinical practitioners in the hospitals, and from 2014 I have been conducting a project with obstetricians to investigate women's childbirth experience in Taiwan and in Denmark. Based on sessions of ethnographic work in Denmark including interviews with Danish pregnant women, midwives and obstetricians, I am in an early stage of a comparative study of Danish and Taiwanese women's reproductive choice regarding their childbirth movements. While the Danish health care system provides collaborative care between midwife and obstetrician, the Taiwanese system is based on obstetrician-led maternity care and doctor-shopping is common. My adopted theories and methods have enabled me to qualitatively trace and question technologically mediated care practice. This comparative study will provide an account of care practice and women's reproductive choice in a global context. All these projects I have been engaged with have brought me to question and challenge the Taiwanese maternity care practice. As one of the founding members of the Birth Reform Alliance in Taiwan, I am both working to explore and question modern maternity care, and am actively engaged in promoting women's reproductive rights. 

I am conducting two MOST projects, and they are about individual experience of miscarriage and being single and childness in Taiwan. 


Grants and awards

  • Silent Pregnancy Loss: Gendered Embodiment of Miscarriage and Its Entanglement with Medical and Social Practice (MOST 109-2629-H-038-002-MY2), 1/8/2020-31/7/2022.
  • Taiwanese Women’s Situatedness of Being Either Single, Childless or Pregnant in Advanced Maternal Age (MOST 109-2410-H-038-003-),1/8/2020-31/7/2021.
  • Visiting Fellowship 2019-2020, Anthropology Department, Copenhagen University. 
  • The Promise of Prenatal Genetic Screening and Testing? Noninvasive Prenatal Diagnosis in Taiwan (MOST 107-2410-H-038-005-MY2),1/8/2018-31/7/2020.
  • English Book Project: 'Enacting Pregnant Women, Enacting the Foetus: Prenatal Screening and Testing in Taiwan' (MOST105-2410-H-038-007-MY2), 01/08/2016-31/07/2018.
  • The Logic of Maternity Care and the Logic of Women's Reproductive Choice (MOST 104-2410-H-038-009),  01/09/2015- 31/08/2016.

Key Publications 

  • Shih, Li-Wen and Schrøder, Thomas Harbøll (forthcoming), Enacting Up: Using Drawing as a Method/ology to Explore Taiwanese Pregnant Women’s Experiences of Prenatal Screening and Testing. Feminist Theory. (SSCI)
  • Shih, Li-Wen (2018) ‘ How Could You Not Be Depressed? Supporting Women’s Wellbeing from Prenatal to Postnatal Care in Taiwan,’Taiwan Journal of Public Health. 40(6): 595-599.   (TSSCI)
  • Shih, Li-Wen (2021) 'Postmodern Midwives: The Displacement of Rebozo in Denmark and Its hybridity in Maternity Care Practice'. Taiwanese Journal for Studies of Science, Technology and Medicine, 32: 3-66.  (Chinese)  (TSSCI)
  • Shih, Li-Wen (2019) ‘The Logic of Maternity Care: Taiwanese Women's New Reproductive Choice and Shared Doctoring in Childbirth.’ Journal of Women's and Gender Studies. 44: 1-46. [Link to Publication] (Chinese)  (TSSCI)
  • Shih, Li-Wen (2018) ‘Maternity care practice in Denmark: a model of collaboration between midwives and obstetricians,’ Taiwan Journal of Public Health. 37(3): 280-294. [Link to Publication] (Chinese)   (TSSCI)
  • Shih, Li-Wen (2015) ‘Taiwanese Moral Pioneers: The Paradox of Choice, Anxiety and Responsibility,’ Taiwanese Journal for Studies of Science, Technology and Medicine. 21:77-134. [Link to Publication] (Chinese)  (TSSCI)

Book chapters

  • Shih, Li-Wen (2019) ‘Geneticization: Prenatal Genetic Screening and Testing,’ pp 104-126. in Tsai, Yu-Yue et al. ed. Genomic Taiwan: Shifting Paradigms and Challenges. National Chiao-Tung University Press.  
  • Shih, Li-Wen (2017) Moral Bearing: The Paradox of Choice, Anxiety and Responsibility in Taiwan. Selective Reproduction in the 21st Century (ISBN: 978-3-319-58219-1). Palgrave Macmillan. Aug, 2017: 97-122.  
  • Shih, Li-Wen (2017) ‘Men’s Attending in Childbirth: From Bars to the Delivery Wards,’ pp. 241-247. In Hong-Jen ed. Xiàng zǐ kou Sociology Vol2. New Taipei Ciry: Walkers Cultural Enterprises, Ltd. 
  • Shih, Li-Wen (2014) ‘To do or not to do? Taiwanese’s Pregnant Women’s Engagement with Prenatal Screening and Testing,’ pp.125-138. In Lin, Wen-Yuan et al. ed. Science, Technology, Society and People. National Chiao-Tung University Press. 

Selected Conference Papers

  • Shih, Li-Wen (2022) "Reproductive Future of No Future? Enacting Miscarriage through Social and Medical practice and Women’s Embodiment in Taiwan". in Reproductive Futures conference. June 15-17, 2022, Tampere University. (abstract accepted)
  • 施麗雯、鄭芮欣、蔣承憲(2021)〈自然流產的醫學論述與臺灣男女性的主體經驗〉。預計發表於2021年6月26日至6月27日「2021年臺灣科技與社會研究學會年會」。臺灣科技與社會研究學會、國立東華大學原住民民族學院共同主辦。花蓮:國立東華大學原住民民族學院與環境學院。 
  • 施麗雯、鄭芮欣(2021)〈「只有『媽媽』感覺有差?」:臺灣男女性的自然流產經驗〉。預計發表於2021年10月2日「2021年臺灣女性學學會『亞洲、性別、非人權』年度研討會」。臺灣女性學學會主辦。臺北:國立臺灣大學社會科學院。 

  • Shih, Li-Wen (2021) “Translation of Prenatal Genetic Screening and Testing from the 1970s to the present in Taiwan” Chronic Living Conference: quality, vitality and health in the 21st century, 4th-6th March 2021, Copenhagen University, Denmark. 

  • Shih, Li-Wen (2020) “Li-Wen Shih (2020) ‘I See Their Sounds’: Danish Midwives’ ‘Silent Skill’ In Women’s Labour And Its Logic Of Care. In Taiwanese Sociological Association Annual Conference. 28th-29th November 2020, National Taiwan University, Taiwan.

  •  Shih, Li-Wen (2020) “Change with Time? Taiwanese Women’s Situatedness of Being Single and Childless” EASST/4S 2020 Conference. 18th-21st August 2020, Prague.

  • Shih, Li-Wen (2020) “Rearticulating Natural Birth: Rebozo as an Alternative Treatment in Childbirth in Denmark” Gendering Transformations, 28th-30th October 2020, National Central Library, Taiwan. (abstract accepted, conference postponed)

  • Shih, Li-Wen (2019) “Matters of Care in Childbirth: Meeting Expectations and Shared Doctoring in Taiwanese Maternity Care” Nordic STS conference, 13th-14th June 2019, Tampere University, Finland.

  • Shih, Li-Wen (2018) “Risky Pregnancy? Encountering Choice and Risk Assessment in Non-Invasive Prenatal Diagnosis” EASST2018 Conference: Meetings – Making Science, Technology and Society together, 25th -28th July 2018, Lancaster University, UK.

  • Shih, Li-Wen “Meeting Expectations of Childbirth: Taiwanese Women’s New Reproductive Choice and Shared Doctoring in Maternity Care” Taiwanese Sociological Association Annual Meeting, 1st-2nd December 2018, National Chiao-Tung University. (Chinese)

  • Shih, Li-Wen (2018) “The Promise of Prenatal Genetic Screening and Testing and Taiwanese Women's reproductive Choice” Reproductive futures in the Asia Pacific, 7th-8th June 2018, Monash University, Australia.

  • Shih, Li-Wen (2017) “Enacting Bodies: Pregnant Women and Their Fotuses in Prenatal Ultrasound Scans in Taiwan” EASA Medical Anthropology Network meeting Bodies in Transition, 5th-7th July 2017, Lisbon, Portugal.

  • Shih, Li-Wen (2016) “Choreographing Childbirth: The Logic of Maternity Care and the Logic of Women’s Reproductive Choice” 4S/EASST, 31st August–3rd September 2016, Barcelona, Spain.

  • Shih, Li-Wen (2015) “Drawing as a Method/ology: Situating and En-acting Up Taiwanese Pregnant Women’s Experience of Prenatal Screening and Testing” European Sociology Association Annual Conference, 26th-28th August 2015, Prague, Czech Republic.

  • Shih, Li-Wen (2015) “Technological Mothering: Taiwanese Pregnant Women and Their Foetuses” The 13th Annual Conference of Gender and Health, 25th-26th April 2015, National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan.

  • Shih, Li-Wen (2015) “Body-Enacted: Prenatal Ultrasound Scans in Taiwan” When STS meets Humanities in Medicine Workshop, 24th March 2015, Taipei Medical University, Taiwan.

  • Shih, Li-Wen (2014) “Taiwanese Moral Pioneers: The Paradox of Choice, Anxiety and Responsibility” From Medicalization to Alternative Knowledge-in-Practice Workshop, 12th September 2014, National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan.

  • Shih, Li-Wen (2013) “Prenatal Care Shopping in Taiwan: The Logic of Prenatal Care and the Logic of Choice” Gender and Health Annual Conference 2013, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan. (winner of the best paper)

  • Shih, Li-Wen (2012) “Body-Enacted: Pleasure and Anxiety in Prenatal Screening and Testing in Taiwan” Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S), Copenhagen Business School, Denmark.

  • Shih, Li-Wen (2011) “From 2D, 3D, 4D, ET to the Cyborg Foetus: Refiguring Prenatal Ultrasound Scans” 1st October, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan. (winner of the best paper)

  • Shih, Li-Wen (2011) “Drawing as a Research Method: Refiguring Prenatal Screening and Testing” Lancaster Sociology Summer Conference, 1st-3rd July, Lancaster University, UK.

  • Shih, Li-Wen (2010) “Body Enacted: Refiguring Prenatal Ultrasound Screening” PRISM 2010: Postgraduate Researchers in Science Medicine conference, 23rd September 2010, Lancaster University, UK.

  • Shih, Li-Wen (2009) “Engaging With Reproductive Technology: A Case Study of Prenatal Check in Taiwan” Lancaster Sociology Summer Conference, Lancaster University, UK.

In the media

  • Shih, Li-Wen (2020) “She’s studying pregnancy (‘neh’, exclamation).” (in Taiwanese Hokkien) Facebook Fan Page of the Birth Empowerment Alliance of Taiwan (BEAT), 13th February. https://www.facebook.com/BirthReformAllianceTW/photos/pb.477021212450878.-2207520000../1607913659361622/?type=3&eid=ARCD2FV7u9tRtDdoe-Ua_QlbEyQGFKEQN7XKYS8b_sJLQi7W_YTlPKzq9dr9ycR81MlFd6bbdi5tCKY4 (Chinese)
  • Shih, Li-Wen (2018) “I’m multitasking like every parent.” Facebook Fan Page of the Birth Empowerment Alliance of Taiwan (BEAT), 5th August. https://reurl.cc/8G1ljM (Chinese)
  • Shih, Li-Wen (2017) “Taiwanese Female Labour Needs Longer Paid Maternity Leave.” Apple Daily News, 14th May.https://tw.news.appledaily.com/forum/20170514/4JXKD2BKCSYJG2LFZ4FBQXTTVY/. (Chinese)
  • Shih, Li-Wen (2015) “The Third Way of Giving Birth to a Child: Shared Doctoring between Obstetricians and Midwives” Thinking Taiwan, 21st December 2015. Shih, https://tw.appledaily.com/forum/realtime/20150508/606838/ (Chinese)
  • Shih, Li-Wen (2015) “The men in the delivery room, Apple Daily News.” 1st October. https://tw.appledaily.com/new/realtime/20151001/702935/ (Chinese)
  • https://www.thinkingtaiwan.com/content/4970 (Chinese)
  • Shih, Li-Wen (2015) “Empower the family, Empower the women!” Thinking Taiwan, 9th August 2017. https://www.thinkingtaiwan.com/content/6433 (Chinese)
  • Li-Wen (2015) “Is the Maternal Health Handbook the Kui Hua Bao Dian (The Sunflower Manual)?” Apple Daily News, 8th May.






I am currently supervising two students:
  1. Hsao-Jin Pern (彭秀靖) whose research is looking at women's breast cancer screening in Taiwan, and
  2. Ming Hsuan Ma (馬明萱) whose research centers on Deployment of care institution. 
Past supervisee:
Liu, Yu-Ting (Co-supervision with Lin, Wen-Lan)
Thesis: Responding to Fetal Abnormality: Taiwanese Women's Action Strategy and “Choice” in Relation to Termination of Pregnancy