The regionalism in South Korea, historically produced in the conflicting and tension-filled process of "competition, defense, and exclusion" of resource distribution, is multi-dimensional, multi-formed and complex. In this paper, I examine regionalism in South Korean society in three dimensions: jiyeok gamjeong as a typical regional sentiment, intra regional disparities (polarization between Seoul and the local), and the emergence of a new kind of regionalism (locality). In South Korea, regionalism is commonly regarded as a harmful and negative social phenomena because of the social deformities it produces. However, regionalism can function to provoke the vitality of social development through the formation of identity in relation to a specific area and promote “healthy” competition. Regionalism may imply positive motives toward the restoration of local subjectivity and the improvement in the quality of life. It is required for the Korean people to utilize the positive as a dynamic means of developing a progressive South Korean democracy and civil society.
Regionalism has been the dominant political cleavage in Korea since the June Uprising of 1987, which brought about democratization. Even though many scholars attribute it to many sources such as regional economic disparity, regional discrimination in elite recruitment, political mobilization by political elite, etc, we need a more synthetic, dynamic, and historical approach to understanding Korean regionalism instead of focusing on a single factor. In this respect, regional cleavage in Korean politics has developed through four stages--1) dormant period (1961-1987); 2) regional rivalry system (1987-1990); 3) regional hegemony system (1990-1995); 4) new regional rivalry system (1995-present). The 2002 presidential election once again showed the predominance of regional cleavage in Korean politics even though generational difference emerged as a new cleavage in Korean politics
Regional economic disparities in Korea are analyzed in this paper using available data on employment, income (measured by gross regional domestic product), and income tax. The conventional claim that regional economic disparities are partly a result of regional favoritismthe interpretation by political geography--is not unequivocally supported at least during the period from 1985 to 2001. Even though one can make a plausible case for regional favoritism before 1985, it is still difficult to fathom out the effect of politics from the effect of economic geography. Regional cleavage between the southwestern and the southeastern part of the country is thus concluded to be a product of politics of regional sentiment rather than a product of regional economic reality. The paper finds, however, a worrisome trend of divergence in regional income disparities between Koreas Capital region and the rest of the country since 1993. This center-periphery like relationship between the Capital region and the rest of the country poses a great challenge in Korea’s future territorial management.
Using a multi-stage vote decision model by Miller and Shanks (1996), this study analyses the effects of sociological, psychological, and rational variables on the votes ofvoting patterns in the 16th presidential election in Korea. It finds that the region is the most important variable in individual vote decision, followed by one's ideology and evaluation of government performance. But in the collective election outcome, ideology and issue position have givengave Roh Moo-hHyun decisive advantages for that led to his victory. It suggests that the 16th presidential election is a realigning election, and both regional and ideological cleavages will continue to be electoral cleavagesso in the near future.
The purpose of this paper is to investigate what strategies were effective in mobilizing voters under the political conditions in the 2002 presidential election in Korea. Just one month before the election,the probability of candidate Rohs winning was low. The finding of this study is that Roh Moo-hyun's election campaign strategies and unification of candidates with Chung Mong-joon were critical to his win. Because Roh knew that he would lose without dramatic changes in electoral issues, he considered every strategy to win. And the decision of the unification of candidacy was one of them. It is ironic that he was able to win because he realized that he might lose. Analysis of empirical data shows that candidate unification was the detrimental factor contributing to Roh's success. The effect of other issues, such as candle vigils, moving capital city and disclosure of alleged wiretap activities on the electoral result did not reverse the trend ofcandidate support.
The 16th presidential election in 2002 marked a turning point in Korean politics. Above all, it was a departure from the authoritarian era symbolized by the three Kims who had dominated Korean politics for the last three decades. In addition, it marked Korean politics' entrance into an era of full-scale utilization of the media politics. But the 2002 presidential election exhibited both the bright and dark sides of media politics. Despite the immature state of media strategy in Korea, the election demonstrated that a candidate successful in mounting media-friendly events and issues could win an election. Roh's triumph can largely be attributed to his media events, MDP's semiprimaries (dubbed "the weekend drama"), and candidacy unification negotiations with Chung Mong-jun. The election also witnessed a sharp increase in the influence of the Internet and the declining influence of major conservative newspapers. The major traditional newspaper failed in their efforts to affect the election by focusing on the North Korean nuclear crisis. On the other hand, public mourning of two teenage girls and demand for a revision of SOFA emerged as a critical issue through the medium of the Internet. Despite the power of media politics, several problems arouse, including those of the media's impartiality and the sensationalism of election news and programs.
This paper aims at a theoretical understanding of Confucian authorityrelations in contemporary Korea, especially within the framework ofrational choice and the concept of habitus (as in Bourdieu). First, wediscuss the source of naturalization or the legitimate basis of Confucianauthority, identifying how the age-differential hierarchy is rendered asthe Durkheimean sense of sacred. Second, we trace the route of howSeongnihak, or Neo-Confucianism, was received and modified as anorthodox ethical principle and social ideology in the Joseon dynasty.Third, I will introduce discussions of the workings of Confucian author-ity as habitus. Then, we try to see how this habitus aspect can berevealed in its working on everyday practices. Fifth, some basic con-cepts and principles related with separating equilibrium in informa-tion asymmetry situation will be explained. Using these analyticaltools, we try to answer how the ethical and formal principle of Confu-cian authority relation, theye, is rationally explained in various socialinstances, in terms of distribution of social resources.
With Liberation, the Korean peninsula was full of revolutionary waves.Against the will of Korean people, however, the USA that occupiedSouth Korea and created the USAMGIK tried to maintain the status quoand build a bulwark against the communist USSR in South Korea. Toaccomplish its policy, the USAMGIK found the rightist paramilitaryyouth organizations necessary for illegal missions to smash their rivalsby violence that it could not perform by legal method. The USAMGIKand the Rhee-KDP group supported and encouraged the rightist para-military youth corps to exercise their violence without any restrictions.By this method, the United States and the Rhee-KDP group finally suc-ceeded in establishing a divided government, the ROK, in South Korea.There remained two features in South Korea. One was the division andthe other was a reactionary and anticommunistic Cold War countrywaiting for the Korean War.