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South Korean Social Movements: From Democracy to Civil Society

From the publisher’s website:

This book explores the evolution of social movements in South Korea by focusing on how they have become institutionalized and diffused in the democratic period. The contributors explore the transformation of Korean social movements from the democracy campaigns of the 1970s and 1980s to the rise of civil society struggles after 1987. South Korea was ruled by successive authoritarian regimes from 1948 to 1987 when the government decided to re-establish direct presidential elections. The book contends that the transition to a democratic government was motivated, in part, by the pressure from social movement groups that fought the state to bring about such democracy. After the transition, however, the movement groups found themselves in a qualitatively different political context which in turn galvanized the evolution of the social movement sector.

Including an impressive array of case studies ranging from the women’s movement, to environmental NGOs, and from cultural production to law, the contributors to this book enrich our understanding of the democratization process in Korea, and show that the social movement sector remains an important player in Korean politics today.

This book will appeal to students and scholars of Korean studies, Asian politics, political history and social movements.

Gi-Wook Shin is Professor of Sociology at Stanford University, USA.

Paul Chang is Assistant Professor of Research Methods at Yonsei University, South Korea.



  1. Democratization and the Evolution of Social Movements in Korea: Institutionalization and Diffusion | Paul Y. Chang and Gi-Wook Shin

PART I: Social Movements and Democratic Transition

  1. The Korean Democracy Movement: an Empirical Overview | Gi-Wook Shin, Paul Y. Chang, Jung-eun Lee and Sookyung Kim   
  2. From Minjung to the Simin: The Discursive Shift in Korean Social Movements | Namhee Lee   
  3. Exorcizing the Ghosts of Kwangju: Policing Protest in the Post-Authoritarian Era | Jong Bum Kwon   

PART II: Institutionalization of Social Movements

  1. Origins of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea: Global and Domestic Causes | Jeong-Woo Koo  
  2. From the Streets to the Courts: PSPD’s Legal Strategy and the Institutionalization of Social Movements | Joon Seok Hong   
  3. The Entry of Past Activists into the National Assembly and South Korea’s Participation in the Iraq War | Sookyung Kim and Paul Y. Chang   
  4. The Consequences of Government Funding for Environmental NGOs in South Korea | Chang Bum Ju   
  5. The Institutionalization of the Women’s Movement and Gender Legislation | Chan S. Suh, Eun Sil Oh and Yoon S. Choi  

 PART III: Spin Off Movements and Diffusion Processes   

  1. Citizen Journalism: The Transformation of the Democratic Media Movement | Thomas Kern and Sang-hui Nam  
  2. New Activist Cultural Production: Independent Filmmakers, the Post-Authoritarian State, and New Capital Flows in South Korea | Young-a Park   
  3. The Korean Gay and Lesbian Movement 1993-2008: From “Identity” and “Community” to “Human Rights” | Hyun-young Kwon Kim and John (Song Pae) Cho   
  4. Lawyers for a Democratic Society (Minbyun): The Evolution of Its Legal Mobilization Process Since 1988 | Patricia Goedde   
  5. Left Out: People’s Solidarity for Social Progress and the Evolution of Minjung After Authoritarianism | Alice S. Kim


The Stanford Korea Democracy Project

Entry on here.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.