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Protest and resilience on World Peace Island

The nonviolent resistance of a South Korean village against the construction of a naval base

Carole Reckinger

Since 2007, a small fishing village on the island of Jeju in South Korea has been fighting the decision to build a naval base next door to a UNESCO biosphere reserve. This article takes a closer look at the civil disobedience movement, based on the author's primary observations and impressions. Furthermore, it analyzes the environmental, geostrategic, and economic arguments put forward by the government and the protesters' subsequent response. In this fight between David and Goliath, the Gangjeong protest, more than having the actual power to stop the construction, is an example of citizens from all walks of life no longer quietly accepting disregard for democratic values.

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"We have to transform ourselves first"

The ethics of liberal developmentalism and multicultural governance in South Korea

Euyryung Jun

Multiculturalism has often been articulated through imperial and civilizational discourses that identify tolerance with the liberal West and intolerance with nonliberal societies and cultures. This article explores how the focus of the civilizational gaze is turned on the allegedly “not yet tolerant self“ in the neoliberal developmental state of South Korea. The mode of the liberal government that recently emerged in South Korea has been shaped not in the self-celebratory rhetoric of “what we are“ but in the self-critical, developmentalist rhetoric of “what we lack.“ Drawing from my fieldwork among local civic actors working in the field of migration, I discuss how the civic discourse of damunhwa, or “multiculturalism,“ that emerged in opposition to the “governmental objectification“ of migrant groups redirects the focus onto the ethical improvement of the general population, relying on another form of reified otherness that captures migrants and their presence in the country as “opportunities“ for South Korea's moral ventures.

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Yeongmi Yun

This article explores an important aspect of the developing relations between the post-Soviet Russian Far East and its neighbours on the Pacific Rim. It concentrates on South Korean economic activity in the Nakhodka Free Economic Zone, and the development of the Korean-Russian industrial park project.

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Emergence of New Welfare States in East Asia?

Domestic Social Changes and the Impact of "Welfare Internationalism" in South Korea and Taiwan (1945–2012)

Won-Sub Kim and Shih-Jiunn Shi

The development of social policy in East Asia has been gaining momentum in recent decades, challenging scholars to offer an explanation. This article addresses two questions: Are we witnessing the rise of welfare states in East Asia? And if so, what are the driving forces behind this development? We draw on theoretical perspectives of Franz-Xaver Kaufmann, who emphasizes the relationship between the state and civil society as the context of welfare statism, and who elaborated the role of international organizations and law in social policy ("welfare internationalism"). Choosing South Korea and Taiwan as examples, we explore the role of international policy diffusion, highlighting the interaction of international and domestic factors. We find that South Korea and Taiwan have indeed turned into welfare states, and that external "social" ideas, which have received little attention in previous research, have contributed to this development in different historical phases. Our analysis extends Kaufmann's perspective beyond Western welfare states.

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Chong-ro

A Space of Belonging for Young Gay Men in Seoul

Elias Alexander

For young men navigating a sexual identity that lies on the periphery of culturally understood and politically acceptable discourses, places where one expresses such identities becomes necessary to foster a sense of belonging. Gay districts have existed as bastions of open self-expression, providing a sense of belonging in restrictive societal contexts. This is particularly true in South Korea. Through direct ethnographic engagement, this article analyzes the ways in which Chong-ro, one of Seoul’s gay districts, reinforces identity to create a sense of belonging. Through methods of participant observations and semi-structured interviews with self-identified gay men, qualitative data was collected and analyzed. This article attempts to show how these places help formulate relationships that affirm young gay men’s understanding of self, community, and belonging.

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'Love Goes through the Stomach'

A Japanese–Korean Recipe for Post-conflict Reconciliation

Stephanie Hobbis Ketterer

Mimicking research and practice that demonstrates the importance of seemingly mundane acts for resolving protracted conflicts, this article enquires into the potential contributions of food-related practices to post-conflict reconciliation. Based on fieldwork with a Japanese–South Korean reconciliation initiative (Koinonia), the argument is made that food-related practices can create the spatio-temporal conditions necessary to mitigate successfully situations that may otherwise be characterised by misunderstandings, animosity and an unwillingness to move beyond dividing lines. It is demonstrated that food-related practices have the capacity to influence reconciliation positively throughout the three stages that are perceived as vital for building lasting relationships between conflicting parties: encouragement of participation in reconciliation events (stage 1), encouragement of positive interaction during reconciliation events (stage 2) and sustainability of reconciliation events after participants re-enter daily life and the likely negative perceptions of the Other therein (stage 3).

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What Really Matters in Creating Mass Mobilization, Classical Organization, or New Social Media?

A Comparative Case Study of the Mass Mobilization Process in France and South Korea

Jeong-Im Hyun

This article explores why people adopt different processes to participate in mass mobilizations, using the 2006 Anti-CPE (labor law) Movement in France and the 2008 Candlelight Movement against American Beef Imports in South Korea as case studies. In France, initiators and participants followed the ‘ready-made’ way: left-wing organizations led the whole process of mass mobilizations. In contrast, in South Korea, initiators came from ‘nowhere’: they were middle and high school students without any political organizations; participants were ‘tainted’ by the left-wing political line. The key finding of this study is that the levels of demarcation of political lines in people’s everyday life may explain this difference. In France, strong establishment of a political line in people’s everyday life brought fewer new actors, creating less surprise but a solid mobilization; in South Koreas, the less-established political line in people’s everyday life attracted more new actors, creating more surprise but ‘frivolous’ mobilizations.

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Samantha B. Meyer, Paul R. Ward and Raymond K. H. Chan

It gives us great pleasure to introduce this special issue of the International Journal of Social Quality. This special issue features empirical papers from Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand. The data presented in this special issue originate from a large cross-cultural research project investigating social quality across six Asia-Pacific societies: Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand.

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The Needle Drop

History and Hip-Hop Mobility in the Transpacific (EP)

William B. Noseworthy

Scholarship in the field of hip-hop studies has convincingly argued against a “cultural grey out” and in favor of “local idiosyncrasies” in the mobility of cultural forms. That said, no published study has focused on the movements of the artists themselves in a transpacific context that places scenes in Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Vietnam in conversation with one another. Varying histories of colonialism and postcolonial movements are essential aspects of each social context. I argue that the transpacific lens allows scholars to draw out the movements of individuals, influences, and emergent trends in the art form to better understand how artists are, metaphorically, scratching back and forth between representing originality on the one hand and the need for popular appeal on the other. I draw on vinyl itself as a metaphor for this article, which is framed as an EP.

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Chinichi Arai

Despite modernization of the Japanese school system after 1872, this period was marked by the war in East Asia and nationalism focusing on the emperor, whereby the imperial rescript of 1890 defined the core of national education. Following defeat in the Second World War, Japan reformed its education system in accordance with a policy geared towards peace and democracy in line with the United Nations. However, following the peace treaty of 1951 and renewed economic development during the Cold War, the conservative power bloc revised history textbooks in accordance with nationalist ideology. Many teachers, historians and trade unions resisted this tendency, and in 1982 neighboring countries in East Asia protested against the Japanese government for justifying past aggression in history textbooks. As a result, descriptions of wartime misdeeds committed by the Japanese army found their way into textbooks after 1997. Although the ethnocentric history textbook for Japanese secondary schools was published and passed government screening in 2001, there is now a trend towards bilateral or multilateral teaching materials between Japan, South Korea, and China. Two bilateral and one multilateral work have been published so far, which constitute the basis for future trials toward publishing a common textbook.