New Challenges for Maturing Democracies in Korea and Taiwan

New Challenges for Maturing Democracies in Korea and Taiwan

New Challenges for Maturing Democracies in Korea and Taiwan

New Challenges for Maturing Democracies in Korea and Taiwan


New Challenges for Maturing Democracies in Korea and Taiwan takes a creative and comparative view of the new challenges and dynamics confronting these maturing democracies.

Numerous works deal with political change in the two societies individually, but few adopt a comparative approach-and most focus mainly on the emergence of democracy or the politics of the democratization processes. This book, utilizing a broad, interdisciplinary approach, pays careful attention to post-democratization phenomena and the key issues that arise in maturing democracies.

What emerges is a picture of two evolving democracies, now secure, but still imperfect and at times disappointing to their citizens-a common feature and challenge of democratic maturation. The book demonstrates that it will fall to the elected political leaders of these two countries to rise above narrow and immediate party interests to mobilize consensus and craft policies that will guide the structural adaptation and reinvigoration of the society and economy in an era that clearly presents for both countries not only steep challenges but also new opportunities.


Larry Diamond and Gi-Wook Shin

Over the past four decades, a period in world political history known as the “third wave” of global democratization, more than eighty countries have made transitions to democracy. Outside of Europe, few countries have consolidated democracy—and established a relatively liberal form of it—more quickly and successfully than South Korea (Korea hereafter unless specified otherwise) and Taiwan. These two “Asian tigers” were long known for their developmental authoritarian regimes—non-democratic regimes that sharply restricted political rights and civil liberties but delivered astonishing rates of economic development that transformed very poor countries into middleclass societies in less than two generations. But during the heyday of their economic miracles in the 1970s and ’80s, each country experienced growing societal mobilization for democracy, with particularly dramatic expression in the form of popular protests in Korea. By the time military rule was forced to give way to electoral democracy in 1987, under pressure of mass demonstrations, Korea had a robust civil society and very popular figures in the political opposition. Taiwan’s democratization proceeded more gradually, crossing one threshold with the legalization of opposition parties and the end of martial law in 1986, then another with the first free and competitive presidential election in Taiwan a decade later.

Both Korea and Taiwan emerged as relatively liberal democracies and made various political reforms in their early years to extend civil liberties, create a still more open and competitive political system, strengthen the rule of law, and improve civilian control of the military. in each case, the once . . .

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