Democratization and Democracy in South Korea, 1960–Present



This is a perfect one-country study: deeply engaged in the theoretical and comparative literature, intimately informed about South Korean history, bringing to bear some unknown aspects of the case. A major contribution to studies of authoritarianism and of transitions to democracy. —Adam Przeworski, Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor Emeritus, Department of Politics, New York University, USA This book analyses democratization and democracy in South Korea since 1960. The book starts with an analysis of the distinctive characteristics of bureaucratic authoritarianism and how democratic transition had been possible after inconclusive and protracted “tug of war” between authoritarian regime and democratic opposition. It then goes on to explore what the opportunities and constraints to the new democracy are to be a consolidated democracy, how new democracy had changed the industrial relations in the post-transition period, how premodern political culture such as Confucian patrimonialism and familism had obstructed democratic consolidation, and the improvement of quality of democracy. The author compares empirically, from the perspective of a comparative political scientist, political regime superiority of democracy over authoritarianism with regard to economic development. He concludes that “democratic incompetence” theory has been proven wrong and, in South Korea, democracy has performed better than authoritarian regimes in terms of economic growth with equity, employment, distribution of income, trade balance, and inflation. This book will benefit political scientists, development economists, labor economists, religious sociologists, military sociologists, and historians focusing on East Asian history. Hyug Baeg Im is a professor emeritus at Korea University and a chaired professor at GIST. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, USA. He served as an EC member of IPSA and received ROK National Academy of Sciences Prize. Prof. Im's recent publications includeThe Possibility of Peace in the Korean Peninsula (2017) and Mongering North Korean Democracy for Inter-Korean Peace (2015).
... Consequently, in most developing countries, developmental dictatorships emerge and powerful centralized government control is established as a state mechanism to efficiently allocate limited national resources and minimize consumption disputes (Evans, 2012). A strong and centralized state control mechanism may make a nation's economic and land development more efficient; however, it may also facilitate the transition to dictatorship and threaten democracy (Bodenschatz et al., 2015;Im, 2020;Kim, 2007). ...
... Ex-military mayors re-developed the existing old downtown area and supplied a number of infrastructure; and at the same time, they newly developed new towns in the southern part of the Han river, which were relatively safe from North Korea's security threat. Furthermore, not satisfied with constructing new towns, they dispersed the city's core function in the newly urbanized areas, thereby developing for the second and third CBDs of metropolitan Seoul, in order to be Previous researchers examined Seoul's formation history through a political lens (Bodenschatz et al., 2015), ideology (Kim, 2008;Im, 2020), and policy (Beaverstock et al., 1999;Choe, 2003;Seo & Kim, 2016). However, considering the metropolitan's development history through the lens of a specific group with the same personal background, as this work has done is academically unique. ...
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This study aims to analyze the role of ex-military mayors in the development of Seoul after the Korean war (1950–1953). The six mayors of Seoul who took office under President Park (1961–1979) and the rapid development of South Korea, demonstrated excessive loyalty and drive to achieve policies established by Park's administration. It boded well for South Korea that three mayors, under the Park regime, had a military background. As a developing nation, it required rapid urbanization and industrialization to establish itself in the global space. This was significantly facilitated by the ex-military mayors. They re-developed the existing old downtown area and provided a number of infrastructures, and at the same time, they developed new towns in the southern part of the Han river that were relatively safe from North Korea's security threat. Furthermore, not satisfied with constructing new towns, they dispersed the city's core function in the newly urbanized areas, thereby developing the second and third CBDs of metropolitan Seoul, in order to be recognized by the dictator by showing their loyalty. As a result, their achievements contributed greatly in forming the basic urban structure of present metropolitan Seoul.
The Republic of Korea underwent intensive industrialization in the 1960s – 1970s, followed by a range of sociocultural transformations. The society suffered changes, and the fact that the government restricted freedom in sociopolitical environment and undertook unpopular economic decisions made this process even more painful. This led to the formation of civil opposition. The composition of the participants in the movement against the dictatorship was diverse, and all of them to one or another extent infringed on their rights. An interesting nuance of the movement for democracy in South Korea is the role of the Christian Church in its consolidation. The subject of this research is the Christian Church in the movement against dictatorship in the Republic of Korea. The goal is to analyze the process of the Christian church's joining the protest movement. The questions of interaction between the society and religious circles, the level of Church engagement in the social processes remain on the agenda in many countries. The novelty of this work is defined by articulation of the problem. The emphasis is placed on the motives of social participation of the Christian Church in South Korea, its interaction with the society and government structures. The following conclusions were made: joining the antigovernment movement by the Protestant and Catholic churches in South Korea is first and foremost associated with their pursuit to expand their range of influence, increase the number of believers prevailing in the competition, and secondly – with the response to authoritarian methods of governing the country. The interaction between society and the Church within the framework of democratic movement was mutually advantageous. The level of involvement of various religious organizations differed, but all Christian denominations represented in South Korea in one way or another proved themselves in the fight against the dictatorship.
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