Collective Memory and Formation of the "Unconscious" Political Generation: Focusing on the Former Period Baby Boomers in Korea *

By Ma, Kyoung Hee; Kim, Hye-Kyung | Development and Society, June 2015 | Go to article overview

Collective Memory and Formation of the "Unconscious" Political Generation: Focusing on the Former Period Baby Boomers in Korea *


Ma, Kyoung Hee, Kim, Hye-Kyung, Development and Society


This study aims to show how the collective memories of industrialization and dictatorship Korean baby boomers experienced in the formative period of political socialization have unconscious effect on Korea's political process. Research findings include: First, baby boomers have preferences for strong leaders-moderate civil society relationship. This is in line with the positive collective memory of President Park Chung Hee, who led industrialization and remarkable economic growth based on his authoritarian rule. Second, political choice of baby boomers in their lifetime voting since 1987 manifested a regional cleavage between Honam and non-Honam. This shows the unconscious effect of their sense of belonging to a political party and regional identity, formed according to the division into Honam and non-Honam regions. Third, baby boomers from non-Honam attacked progressive or critical political parties and social forces in a manner similar to the way President Park Chung Hee ruled using anticommunism to justify violence and oppression against political opposition forces. The above discussions reveal the need to consider not just political generation as a social movement force, but also the "unconscious" political generation that influences political process by their political values and faith.

Keywords: baby boomers, political generation, generation politics, political orientation

Introduction

Korean baby boomers revealed their political presence through voting in the 18th presidential election of 2012. With a high voting rate of 80 percent or over, they played a critical role in the winning of the conservative party candidate. Various political comments ensued, such as the "betrayal of people in their 50s," (The Kyunghyang Shinmun, Dec. 21, 20121) or "the power of the 50s" (TV Chosun, Dec. 22, 20122). The most predominant way to explain "50s' becoming conservative" was to see it as the "manifestation of social and economic insecurity." As a "sandwich generation" required to support both children and parents and unprepared for their own old age, their wish for security manifested as politically conservative orientation (Munhwa Ilbo, Nov. 8, 20133). A similar and yet different explanation is to heed the effect of the biological age of the 50s, emphasizing that generally, the older the voters, the more conservative they become (News1, Dec. 23, 20124). Though socioeconomic situation or biological features can explain political orientation of an age cohort to some extent, these explanations overlook the effect of unique political faith or values shared by an age group.

In studies of generation politics, the political generation theory assumes that political attitude and behavior of a particular population cohort are formed through historical and social experiences in the formative period of political socialization, corresponding to late youth or early adulthood. The attitudes as formed have constant and unchanging impact on their later lives. Based on this assumption, this study aims to show how baby boomers' experiences of historical and social events in their formative periods of political socialization have formed political faith and values unique to the generation and then influence their subsequent political attitude and behavior. The 1970s, their formative periods and the dynamic period of Korea's modern and contemporary history, are represented economically by the success of heavy and chemical industries, special demands from the Middle East, and dispatch of workforce overseas. In addition, aggravated military dictatorship, democratic movement against dictatorship, and the establishment of national mobilization system through the New Village Movement also represent this decade politically. Kim (2013) analyzed the conservative orientation of the 50s in the 18th presidential election as a generation effect, not general age effect, contending that baby boomers' positive memory of former president Park Chung Hee with experiences of state-led economic growth resulted in support for conservative party candidates. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Collective Memory and Formation of the "Unconscious" Political Generation: Focusing on the Former Period Baby Boomers in Korea *
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.