Consolidating Democracy in South Korea

Consolidating Democracy in South Korea

Consolidating Democracy in South Korea

Consolidating Democracy in South Korea

Synopsis

"This book sheds light on the dilemmas, tensions, and contradictions arising from democratic consolidation in Korea. The authors explore the turbulent features of Korean democracy in its first decade, assess the progress that has been made, and identify the key social, cultural, and political obstacles to effective and stable democratic governance." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Among over sixty countries that have undertaken transitions to democracy since the third wave of global democratization began in 1974, the Republic of Korea (South Korea) represents one of the most important and instructive cases. With the eleventh-largest economy in the world, a number of huge business conglomerates with extensive foreign investments, an enterprising and highly educated workforce, and a strategic location in between two world powers, China and Japan, South Korea has international significance that looms increasingly large. With North Korea sinking deeper and deeper into famine, economic crisis, and political disarray while seeking offensive missile capabilities that threaten Japan (and eventually the United States), the significance of a stable, vigorous, and democratic South Korea is further accentuated, and a reunified and ultimately much more powerful Korea looms as a plausible prospect in the next decade. The more stable and institutionalized South Korea's democracy, the better it would be able to manage what would be—under even the most benign scenario—an enormously stressful and perilous process of reunification. The more vigorous, effective, and broadly legitimate South Korea's democracy, the weaker are the culturalist arguments that liberal, multiparty competitive institutions do not fit with “Asian values. ”

South Korea enters the twenty-first century with a twelve-yearold democracy that has weathered the crucial tests of a major economic crisis and alternation of national power from the ruling party to a lifelong opponent of authoritarian rule who was nearly put to death by the military. It enjoys a level of democratic vitality and stability that is without precedent in its history and in the broader . . .

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