Hagen Koo

Hagen Koo
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa | UH Manoa · Department of Sociology

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39
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Introduction
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (39)
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Having maintained a relatively equitable pattern of income distribution throughout the period of rapid economic development, South Korea has experienced a drastic increase of inequality over the past two decades. This article examines Korea’s income distribution pattern and identifies several structural cleavages and mechanisms in the economy that...
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One important phenomenon to be observed in the world today is the rapid growth of the middle classes in emerging economies, especially in Asia. This development called for a new concept, the global middle class. The purpose of this paper is twofold: one is to examine the ways this term is currently used and clarify its meaning, and the other is to...
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The social and cultural landscape of inequality in South Korea has changed significantly in the recent period. This article investigates the emerging pattern of social inequality in South Korea since the financial crisis in 1997–1998, focusing on changes in three major areas of social life: work, consumption, and education. The general trend of cha...
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This article examines one interesting form of global householding practised among Korean middle-class families: transnational families split across oceans for the purpose of children's early education, called kirogi families. Based on statistical data and interviews with a small sample of kirogi fathers, this study describes the rapid growth in the...
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This study investigates several issues pertaining to the urban informal sector and cityward migration in Philippine cities. The analysis of cross-sectional national demographic data reveals the four major patterns. First, the pattern of migrants' participation in the urban labor market varies greatly between male and female migrants. The widely hel...
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Two implicit models have provided the major frameworks for rural-urban migration research in developing societies: one model, the underprivilege model, predicts that rural migrants enter the bottom rungs of the urban occupational structure and suffer inequality in status attainment in the city; the other model, the push up model, suggests that the...
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The Good Society 11.2 (2002) 40-45 Civil society is an old notion rooted in the early experiences of Western Europe. The revival of this concept owes a great deal to the remarkable political developments in eastern and central Europe in the 1970s and 1980s. The sudden collapse of Soviet-style communist regimes in the region was frequently interpret...
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In the flow of events over the past few years, one can see considerable irony in the fate of the Korean working class. At the very moment in history when Korean labor had emerged as a significant social force and achieved a major victory against the state and domestic capital, it was threatened by the larger power of global capitalism. This threat...
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Hagen Koo is professor of sociology at the University of Hawaii.
Article
The rapid industrialization that has occurred in Taiwan over the past three decades has been accompanied by an extraordinary scale and pace of proletarianization. This paper analyzes the pattern of Taiwan's proletarianization and examines the demographic and social characteristics of the newly emerged working class in Taiwan. Distinctive features o...
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This analysis of the South Korean case demonstrates the importance of the historical context for understanding the political role of the middle classes. In late industrialization, as occurred in South Korea and other East Asian countries, the new middle class has emerged as a significant social class, before the capitalist class established its ide...
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Proletarianization in the industrializing economies of East Asia differs significantly from theoretical models derived from early industrialization in the West or semiperipheral development in Latin America or Africa. Contrary to the prediction of the semiproletarianization thesis, dependent capitalist development in South Korea has been accompanie...
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Hagen Koo is Professor of sociology at the University of Hawaii.
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A number of previous studies of economic growth and income distribution in South Korea, based largely on 1960s data, concluded that South Korea was an exception to Kuznets' ‘inverse U-pattern’ of income inequality. Also, it was regarded as an exception to the usual negative consequences predicted by dependency theory for an economy so dependent on...
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The currently popular political economy approach to Third World development is divided in terms of three primary foci of analysis: (1) dependency or the world economic system; (2) the internal class structure and class struggles; and (3) the peripheral capitalist state. This article examines the basic ideas involved in these three approaches and se...
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This paper seeks to contribute to recent efforts to improve status attainment models by introducing class categories or labor market segmentation. The research reported here replicates and extends Wright and Perrone's (1977) analysis of class categories and income inequality in the United States in the context of a rapidly industrializing society....
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Observing a plethora of small entrepreneurial activities in the cities of developing countries, this paper examines the social significance of these occupational activities. The data gathered from a Korean city suggest that small entrepreneurship provides occupational niches to marginal migrant workers as well as an alternative to the bureaucratic...

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Projects (2)
Project
My new book to be published in June 2022 by Cornell University Press. Abstract The middle classes in most advanced economies today are frequently described as being “squeezed” and “shrinking.” In Privilege and Anxiety, Hagen Koo looks closely at what has happened to the Korean middle class in the era of rapid globalization, and demonstrates that the middle class has experienced far more complex changes than usually described in the literature. Its central argument is that globalization inserts axis of polarization into the middle class, separating a small minority that benefits from the globalized economy and a large majority that suffers from it. This internal differentiation generates a challenging dynamic within the middle class, as the newly emerged affluent seek to distinguish themselves from the rest of the middle and establish a new, privileged, class position. This book explores how these tensions play out in three areas: consumption and lifestyle, residential differentiation, and education. In all three areas, the dominant orientation of the affluent middle class is to preserve their newfound privilege and pass it onto their children. The middle class thus turns into an arena of intense class competition, bringing great anxieties to both the winners and losers of neoliberal globalization. https://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/9781501764943/privilege-and-anxiety/#bookTabs=1
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