Jump to Content Jump to Main Navigation

Political Science Politics of South Korea
by
Victor Cha, Ji-Young Lee

Introduction

The Republic of Korea (ROK) or South Korea today is a vibrant democracy, a republic with powers shared between the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary. South Korea’s transition to democracy in 1987 has been described as a long journey through periods of authoritarian rule. To understand the politics of South Korea, it is helpful to keep in mind the following four themes: (1) the question of unification with North Korea, (2) rapid economic development, (3) democratization, and (4) the alliance with the United States. Since the establishment of the Republic of Korea in 1948, how South Koreans view North Korea has been a big factor in South Korean politics. During the Cold War, the authoritarian leaders often used the rivalry with communist North Korea as a means to weaken the opposition against their rule. In the post–Cold War era, Korean nationalism expanded to include the embracing of North Koreans as “brothers” particularly during the presidencies of Kim Dae-Jung and Roh Moo-Hyun. South Korea’s developmental experience between 1962 and 1979 under the Park Chung-Hee government left important legacies that are controversial to this day. On the one hand, South Korea joined the ranks of the “Asian tigers” and became a member state of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) due to the success of Park’s government-led, strong-state industrialization strategy. On the other hand, Park’s nineteen-year dictatorship meant South Korea’s “political backwardness” despite rapid economic development. The Park regime’s maintenance of the cozy tripartite relationships among government, banks, and big businesses has been seen as partly responsible for the 1997 South Korean currency crisis. The breakdown of the military’s authoritarian rule under Chun Doo-Hwan and South Korea’s subsequent transition to democracy in 1987 opened the room for direct presidential elections, civilian control over the military, and the growth of civil society. The mass movement of university students, intellectuals, an emerging consumer middle class, and other civil society groups was the driving force behind South Korean democratization. Finally, the United States has played an extensive role especially during the early years of South Korean political developments ranging from national security, institution building, economic development, to democratization. America’s prominence in Korea’s phenomenal successes became intertwined with resistance among progressive elements of Korea to Washington’s dominance in its internal and external policies. The open and almost completely unregulated expression of views in South Korea can be seen as a proof of active civil society in a democratized South Korea.

General Overviews

The best works that provide general overviews of South Korean politics can be found in books that address the modern history of the two Koreas. Oberdorfer 2001, Cumings 2005, and Robinson 2007 approach South Korean politics in view of the intertwined relationship between South and North Korean politics and foreign relations. They address some of the most important shared historical experiences such as the Japanese colonialism, the occupation, the division, the Korean War, and the Cold War in general to highlight the origins of South Korean politics. Oberdorfer 2001 in particular does a great job of recounting South Korean domestic politics in conjunction with inter-Korean relations and its relations with the United States. Of the books published on the topic of South Korean politics, Diamond and Kim 2000, and Oh 1999 make the best introductory textbooks for undergraduate courses. Khil 1984 helps understand the basics for the political systems of the two Koreas. Yang 1999 is a comprehensive study of the politics and foreign policy of South Korea, written by a scholar and former ROK ambassador to the United States. Kil and Moon 2001 is a good introduction to South Korean politics that covers major themes including culture, history, institutions, actors, democratization, political economy, and foreign policy.

  • Cumings, Bruce. Korea’s Place in the Sun: A Modern History. New York: Norton, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A historical overview of Korean politics intended for a general readership. But Cumings’s use of extensive English and Korean archives make the read useful to scholars as well.

    Find this resource:

  • Diamond, Larry, and Byung-Kook Kim. Consolidating Democracy in South Korea. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Provides a social science overview of various aspects of the South Korean political system on the theme of democratic consolidation. The chapters include discussions on party politics, civil society, labor issues, economic development, and electoral politics provided by leading Korea scholars.

    Find this resource:

  • Khil, Young Whan. Politics and Policies in Divided Korea: Regimes in Conflict. Boulder, CO, and London: Westview, 1984.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Offers a general overview of the South Korean political system until the early 1980s juxtaposed with the North Korean system in a comparative manner. Useful for grasping a basic background of how the two countries have developed distinctively different political systems.

    Find this resource:

  • Kil, Soong-hoom, and Chung-in Moon. Understanding Korean Politics: An Introduction. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2001.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An edited volume that offers a comprehensive overview of South Korean politics. A total of nine chapters discuss political culture and history, institutions, leadership, democratization, political economy, and foreign and unification policies. Can be used as a textbook for undergraduate and graduate courses on Korean politics.

    Find this resource:

  • Oberdorfer, Don. The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History. New York: Basic Books, 2001.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A detailed journalistic account on Korean politics. Drawn from some of Oberdorfer’s own reporting in the region (a former Washington Post correspondent in Asia) and with numerous interviews with high-level officials who were directly involved in important critical junctures. Entertaining for the general reader, but also with interesting empirical evidence for the scholar.

    Find this resource:

  • Oh, John Kie-chiang. Korean Politics: The Quest for Democratization and Economic Development. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Provides a good overview of the evolution of South Korean politics chronologically. Uses the lens of the interplay between democratization and economic development. The chapters are a little dense but can be useful for the undergraduate classroom as they pinpoint major themes. Informative and well-organized.

    Find this resource:

  • Robinson, Michael. Korea’s Twentieth-Century Odyssey: A Short History. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A comprehensive overview of Korea’s modern political history. Offers a very balanced historical interpretation of events and therefore can be used as a college textbook.

    Find this resource:

  • Yang, Sung-chul. The North and South Korean Political Systems: A Comparative Analysis. Elizabeth, NJ: Hollym, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Written by a Kyunghee University professor and former South Korean ambassador to the United States during the Kim Dae-jung presidency, this voluminous work provides a detailed political history of the two systems. Its scope is encyclopedic.

    Find this resource:

Journals

The topics of South Korean politics and foreign relations are well-covered by some of the leading Asia-related journals. They include Pacific Affairs, Pacific Review, Asian Survey, and Journal of East Asian Studies. Pacific Affairs has been published since 1928 and contains articles and book reviews that cover contemporary political, economic, and social issues in Asia. Pacific Review features high-quality research articles on Asia and publishes five issues a year. Asian Survey is a bimonthly review of contemporary politics of South, Southeast, and East Asian countries. Journal of East Asian Studies is a major journal of international relations, political economy, human rights, and democratic governance of East Asia. Asian Perspective features peer-reviewed articles that focus on Korean politics and foreign policy. The Korean Journal of Defense Analysis is a good source for South Korea’s defense and security issues. Hankuk Chungchi Hakheobo is a Korean-language scholarly journal published by the Korea Political Science Association.

Biographies and Memoirs of South Korean Presidents

Allen 1960 and Chŏn 2006 are biographies of presidents Syngman Rhee and Park Chung-Hee, respectively. Park 2005 is a collection of Park Chung-Hee’s speeches and writings. Kim 1992 is the transcribed records of President Chun Doo-Whan between 1986 and 1988. Roh 2011, Kim 2000, Kim 2010, and Roh 2009 are memoirs of Presidents Roh Tae-Woo, Kim Young-Sam, Kim Dae-Jung, and Roh Moo-Hyun, respectively.

  • Allen, Richard C. Korea’s Syngman Rhee: An Authorized Portrait. Rutland, VT: Charles E. Tuttle, 1960.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An interesting work on Syngman Rhee’s political life. Describes South Korea’s first president’s journey to presidency and his fall from power.

    Find this resource:

  • Chŏn, In-gwŏn. Pak Chŏng-hŭi p’yŏngjŏn: Pak Chŏng-hŭi ŭi chŏngch’i sasang kwa haengdong e kwanhan chŏn’gijŏk yŏn’gu. Sŏul-si, South Korea: Ihaksa, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Title translates as “Biography of Park Chung Hee: Biographical study on his thoughts and activities.” A biographical research on the life of Park Chung-Hee centering on the concept of “psychological orphan.” Provides insights into President Park’s leadership style and South Korean politics in the 1960s and 1970s.

    Find this resource:

  • Kim, Sŏng-ik. Chŏn Tu-hwan yuksŏng chŭngŏn: 1986. 1.20–1988. 2. 24. Sŏul T‘ŭkpyŏlsi, South Korea: Chosŏn Ilbosa, 1992.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    “Audiotaped transcripts of Chun Doo-Whan: 1986–1988.” The transcribed records of the Chun Doo-Whan presidency in the years between 1986 and 1988.

    Find this resource:

  • Kim, Young Sam. Kim Yŏng-sam hoegorok: minjujuŭi rŭl wihan na ŭi t’ujaeng. Sŏul-si, South Korea: Paeksan Sŏdang, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    “A memoir of Kim Young-Sam: My struggle for democracy.” A memoir of Kim Young-Sam, the first civilian president between 1993 and 1998. Focuses on his activities for democracy in South Korea.

    Find this resource:

  • Kim, Dae Jung. Kim Tae-jung chasŏjŏn. Sŏu-si, South Korea: Samin, 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    “The autobiography of Kim Dae-Jung.” The autobiography of President Kim Dae-Jung. A good source for understanding Korea’s modern history, especially on the topics of democratization and inter-Korean relations. Published after he died in 2009.

    Find this resource:

  • Park, Chŏng Hee. Han’guk kungmin ege koham. Seoul, South Korea: Tongsŏ Munhwasa, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    “Announcing to the South Korean public.” A collection of Park Chung-Hee’s writings and speeches. Provides glimpses into his vision for South Korea.

    Find this resource:

  • Roh, Moo Hyun. Sŏnggong kwa chwajŏl: No Mu-hyŏn Taet’ongnyŏng mot ta ssŭn hoegorok. Sŏul-si, South Korea: Hakkojae, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    “Successes and frustrations: Unfinished memoir of Roh Moo-Hyun.” An important source for understanding President Roh Moo-Hyun’s thinking behind major decisions, including the dispatch of South Korean troops to Iraq, his relationships with South Korea’s major media outlets, and his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il.

    Find this resource:

  • Roh, Tae Woo. No T’ae-u hoegorok. Sŏul T‘ŭkpyŏlsi, South Korea: Chosŏn Nyusŭ P‘ŭresŭ, 2011.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    “Roh Tae-Woo: memoir.” A memoir of the President Roh Tae-Woo of the Sixth Republic (1988–1993). Illustrates major political events such as the post-1987 democratic reforms, the Seoul Olympic Games, and Nordpolitik among other things.

    Find this resource:

Data Sources

There are useful online data sources on the topics of unification and inter-Korean relations from various institutions. Institute for Peace and Unification Studies provides primary survey data on South Korean public and North Korean defectors’ attitudes toward unification. Korea Institute for National Unification and the University of North Korean Studies also provide useful resources including downloadable articles on the question of Korean unification in South Korea. Hankuk Chungchi Yonguso (Institute of Korean Political Studies) and Hankuk Chungchi Hakheo (The Korea Political Science Association) provide readers with Korean-language sources on South Korean politics and foreign policy. East Asia Institute features interviews and articles that are concerned with South Korea’s foreign policy questions.

The Genesis of the Republic of Korea

A majority of the South Korean nation building literature focuses on the role that the United States played during the early formative years of the Republic of Korea. Meade 1951 and Cho 1967 analyze the American occupation of Korea and the division of the Korean peninsula. Kim 1971, Reeve 1963, and Lee 1968 explore the politics of nation building roughly until the 1960s. Brazinsky 2007 offers a comprehensive analysis of the US role on various areas of South Korean nation building from the Syngman Rhee presidency through the Park Chung-Hee presidency. Song 2004 is one of the first attempts in South Korea to embark on an in-depth examination on the post-liberation nation-building processes in South Korea. Pak 2006 deals with the same topics as Song 2004, but offers different interpretations. Both Song 2004 and Pak 2006 are written in Korean.

  • Brazinsky, Gregg. Nation Building in South Korea: Koreans, Americans, and the Making of a Democracy. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the American involvement in the building of South Korea up to the Park Chung-Hee era. Argues the support of the United States for South Korea’s autocratic regimes was based on Cold War strategies and the United States contributed to South Korean democracy by encouraging the growth of democratic ideals in students and intellectuals.

    Find this resource:

  • Cho, Soon Sung. Korea in World Politics, 1940–1950: An Evaluation of American Responsibility. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1967.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explains the US policy toward Korea from the 1943 Cairo Conference through the eve of the Korean War. Highlights the causes of the division between the two Koreas.

    Find this resource:

  • Kim, Se-Jin. The Politics of Military Revolution in Korea. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1971.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Focuses on the role that the military played in South Korea’s nation building. Examines the socioeconomic and political factors that led to Park Chung-Hee’s coup d’etat on 16 May 1961. Discusses the civil-military relations in South Korean politics after Park’s coup.

    Find this resource:

  • Lee, Hahn-Been. Korea: Time, Change, and Administration. Honolulu, HI: East-West Center, 1968.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the role of administrators in South Korea’s post-liberation development between 1948 and 1963.

    Find this resource:

  • Meade, Grant E. American Military Government in Korea. New York: King’s Crown, 1951.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An analysis of the American occupation of Korea. Details American military government administration in South Korea during the critical juncture period of 1945–1946.

    Find this resource:

  • Pak, Chi-hyang. Haebang chŏnhusa ŭi chaeinsik. Sŏul-si, South Korea: Ch’aek Sesang, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    “Recasting the understanding of post-liberation Korea.” Argues the views expressed in the influential book (Song 2004) Haebang chŏnhusa ŭi insik (Understanding post-liberation Korea) portray a misguided nationalistic perspective. Different interpretations on understanding about the genesis of ROK.

    Find this resource:

  • Reeve, W. D. The Republic of Korea: A Political and Economic Study. London: Oxford University Press, 1963.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    One of the early works on the topic of Korea’s nation-building. Focuses on the first South Korean government under President Syngman Rhee. Examines the political development, foreign policy, economic policy as well as foreign economic aid under the Rhee government.

    Find this resource:

  • Song, Kŏn-ho, ed. Haebang chŏnhusa ŭi insik. Vol. 1. Kyŏnggi-do P’aju-si, South Korea: Han’gilsa, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    “Understanding post-liberation Korea.” Originally published in 1979, the book shed light on South Korea’s modern history just after the 1945 liberation. Includes topics such as the presidency of Syngman Rhee and the ideology and activities of Kim Gu. Widely viewed as from the perspective of Korean nationalism. Known to have had a big impact on progressive students and intellectuals in the 1980s.

    Find this resource:

The Korean War

There have been debates among scholars of the Korean War with regards to the origins and the nature of the conflict. Challenging the conventional view that North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung started the Korean War, Cumings 1990 and Cumings 2005 (cited under General Overviews) put forward an argument that the South might have initiated the border shooting, which led to the war later. While the civil war origin of the Korean War pushes the scholarship on the Korean War forward, subsequent studies after the release of Soviet and Chinese documents shows that Kim Il-Sung was indeed responsible for the invasion, whose decision was backed up by the Soviet Union. Goncharov, et al. 1993 understands the Korean War in the context of the great power politics between the Soviet Union and China and of Kim Il-Sung’s interactions with the leaders of these two giant Communist countries. Park 1996 is a Korean-language book that suggests the empirical evidence against Cumings’s argument above. Stueck 1995 convincingly shows how the Korean War was international and multilateral in nature, as many UN member countries, not just China and the United States, were involved in the conflict. Stueck 2002 summarizes these differing views on the Korean War and suggests both domestic and international dynamics mattered. Millett 2008 discusses a fifty-year historiography of the Korean War. Grey 2004 is a useful review of nineteen citations on the Korean War. Kang 2003 treats the Korean War as an important case through which the author critiques the existing theories of conflict in international relations.

  • Cumings, Bruce. The Origins of the Korean War. 2 vols. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Challenges the previous conventional wisdom on the nature of the Korean War. Puts forward the civil war origin of the conflict rather than viewing the war as a result of a great power confrontation. Sometimes referred to as revisionist.

    Find this resource:

  • Goncharov, Sergei N., John W. Lewis, and Xue Litai. Uncertain Partners: Stalin, Mao and the Korean War. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1993.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Russian, American, and Chinese authors examine the Korean War in the context of high-level contacts among Stalin of the Soviet Union, Mao of China, and Kim of North Korea. Tends to support the early view on the war’s origin that Kim Il-Sung started the Korean War.

    Find this resource:

  • Grey, Jeffrey. “Review Article: The Korean War.” Journal of Contemporary History 39 (2004): 667–676.

    DOI: 10.1177/0022009404046787Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A review of various works on the Korean War. Offers a comprehensive examination of the scholarship.

    Find this resource:

  • Kang, David. “International Relations Theory and the Second Korean War.” International Studies Quarterly 47 (2003): 301–324.

    DOI: 10.1111/1468-2478.4703001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The article challenges the widespread view that a second Korean War is around the corner as coming from mis-specified assumptions of theories of conflict. Contributes to international relations theorizing by using the Korean War as a case.

    Find this resource:

  • Millett, Allan. “The Korean War: A 50-Year Critical Historiography.” Journal of Strategic Studies (2008): 188–244.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A useful historiography on the Korean War for the past fifty years.

    Find this resource:

  • Park, Myoung-Lim. Han’guk chŏnjaeng ŭi palbal kwa kiwŏn. Seoul, South Korea: Nanam Ch’ulp’an, 1996.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    “The Korean War: The outbreak and its origins.” Counters Cumings’s argument on the origins of the Korean War. Argues that empirical evidence indicates the war was an invasion by the North backed up by the Soviet and Chinese leaders, and not a civil war.

    Find this resource:

  • Stueck, William. The Korean War: An International History. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Sheds light on the Korean War’s international and multilateral dimension. Examines not only the United States and China, but also Japan, the Soviet Union, and other UN member states that were involved in the war.

    Find this resource:

  • Stueck, William. Rethinking the Korean War: A New Diplomatic and Strategic History. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Approaches the Korean War as a result of both external forces of great power interests and internal dynamics of the ways Korean leaders influenced their great power allies.

    Find this resource:

Authoritarian Rule

Of South Korea’s authoritarian regimes under Presidents Syngman Rhee, Park Chung-Hee, and Chun Doo-Hwan, the Park Chung-Hee era has received the most extensive scholarly attention. Chung 1971 is a non-scholarly narrative on the Third Republic under Park Chung-Hee. More recently, on the wave of what is dubbed as Park Chung-Hee syndrome in South Korea, Moon 2009, Kim and Vogel 2011, and Kim and Sorensen 2011 display a renewed interest in revisiting Park Chung-Hee’s legacies. Allen 1960 (cited under Biographies and Memoirs of South Korean Presidents) describes the life of the first president Syngman Rhee who is remembered as a dictator by contemporary Koreans. Gleysteen 1999 and Lewis 2002 examine the 1980 Kwangju massacre led by Chun Doo-Hwan.

  • Chung, Kyung-cho. Korea: The Third Republic. New York: Macmillan, 1971.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A study of the government of the Third Republic (1962–1969) under President Park Chung-Hee. Based on a narrative of the author’s thoughts (no footnotes) rather than scholarly research.

    Find this resource:

  • Gleysteen, William H. Massive Entanglement, Marginal Influence: Carter and Korea in Crisis. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authored by the US ambassador to the ROK during the tumultuous period of Chun Doo Hwan’s ascendance to power through a coup d’etat, Gleysteen recounts the events that he witnessed in the context of US–ROK relations.

    Find this resource:

  • Kim, Hyung-A, and Clark W. Sorensen, eds. Reassessing the Park Chung Hee Era, 1961–1979: Development, Political Thought, Democracy, and Cultural Influence. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2011.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Revisits the legacies of the Park Chung-Hee era in South Korean political history. Useful for those who seek to understand Korean society’s “Park Syndrome.” Covers various areas of his legacies including economic development, political thought, democracy, and the labor policy.

    Find this resource:

  • Kim, Byung-kook, and Ezra F. Vogel, eds. The Park Chung Hee Era: The Transformation of South Korea. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    By far the most comprehensive work on the politics, foreign policy, economic development, and society during the Park Chung-Hee presidency. Very useful window into South Korean politics during the 1960s and 1970s. Challenges some of the existing concepts employed to explain Park’s politics and economy and offers new interpretations.

    Find this resource:

  • Lewis, Linda S. Laying Claim to the Memory of May: A Look Back at the 1980 Kwangju Uprising. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An important account of the Kwangju Uprising known as “Korea’s Tiananmen.” One of the few Western eyewitnesses combined with ethnographic research provides an innovative narrative on the event and the memory of Kwangju.

    Find this resource:

  • Moon, Seungsook. “The Cultural Politics of Remembering Park Chung Hee.” Asia-Pacific Journal 19 (9 May 2009).

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An interesting short article that analyzes why Park Chung-Hee is so controversial among South Koreans. Provides three strands with which the remembrance of Park has been politicized: a great strong leader at hard times, an oppressive dictator, and a human.

    Find this resource:

Democratization

A majority of the literature on South Korean democratization tends to focus on domestic factors rather than external influences. It is possible to categorize these works on democratization roughly into three camps: the democratic reforms at the elite level, democratization through the mass movement, and the question of democratic consolidation after the initial transition to democracy. The first group focuses on the political processes toward the democratic reforms mostly at the elite level. Han 1974 sheds light on the politics of the Second Republic in the post-April 1960 April Revolution period and how this early attempt at democracy was frustrated. Lee 1990 provides an excellent analysis on the “three Kims” and Roh Tae-Woo and examines the critical timing of democratic transition in the late 1980s through the lens of elite interactions and negotiations. Park 1990 deals with the post-1987 conservative alliance of the “two Kims” (Kim Young-Sam and Kim Jong-Pil) and Roh Tae-Woo vis-à-vis Kim Dae-Jung. Cotton 1993 and Kim 1993 focus on the Roh Tae-Woo presidency that successfully ended the military’s dominance over South Korean politics. Cha 1993 and Kim 1997 discuss the presidency of Kim Young-Sam and his democratic reform agenda as the first civilian president since Syngman Rhee. Im 1994 is an analysis on the question of how to characterize South Korean democratization and discusses its significance and the limits.

  • Cha, Victor D. “Politics and Democracy under the Kim Young Sam Government: Something Old, Something New.” Asian Survey 33 (1993): 849–863.

    DOI: 10.2307/2645233Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Written just after the inauguration of the first civilian president since Syngman Rhee, the article provides an overview of the Kim Young Sam government’s reform programs. Discusses both optimistic prospects and challenges ahead.

    Find this resource:

  • Cotton, James, ed. Korea Under Roh Tae-Woo: Democratisation, Northern Policy, and Inter-Korean Relations. Canberra, Australia: Allen & Unwin, 1993.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A useful collection of writings by leading Korean and foreign scholars of Korean politics that examine various aspects of politics and changes during the Roh Tae-Woo administration. Focuses on the themes of democratization and Northern policy. Includes relevant documents translated from Korean.

    Find this resource:

  • Han, Sung-Joo. The Failure of Democracy in South Korea. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the question of liberal democracy in South Korea with a focus on the Chang Myon government of the Second Republic, which presented a brief period of political freedom before the military coup by Park Chung-Hee.

    Find this resource:

  • Im, Hyŏk-paek. Sijang, kukka, minjujuŭi: Han’guk minjuhwa wa chŏngch’i kyŏngje iron. Seoul, South Korea: Nanam Ch’ulp’an, 1994.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    “Market, the state and the democracy: The democratization in South Korea and theories of political economy.” Addresses the question of how to view and characterize South Korean democratization. Analyzes the significance and limits of South Korea’s transition to the 1987 regime. Written in Korean.

    Find this resource:

  • Kim, Su-Hoon. “Transitional Politics of Korea, 1987–1992: Activation of Civil Society.” Pacific Affairs 66.3 (1993): 351–367.

    DOI: 10.2307/2759615Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discusses the democratic changes that President Roh Tae-Woo embarked that included the weakening of the military’s role in the political process.

    Find this resource:

  • Kim, Sunhyuk. “State and Civil Society in South Korea’s Democratic Consolidation: Is the Battle Really Over?” Asian Survey 37.12 (1997): 1135–1144.

    DOI: 10.2307/2645762Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Provides a useful overview of the democratic reforms under the Kim Young-Sam presidency such as the use of real-name bank accounts.

    Find this resource:

  • Lee, Manwoo. The Odyssey of Korean Democracy: Korean Politics, 1987–1990. New York: Praeger, 1990.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A seminal work on South Korean democratization. Focuses on the 1987 presidential election and four leaders—the three Kims (Kim Dae-Jung, Kim Young-Sam, and Kim Jong-Pil) and Roh Tae-Woo.

    Find this resource:

  • Park, Jin. “Political Change in South Korea: The Challenge of the Conservative Alliance.” Asian Survey 30.12 (1990): 1154–1168.

    DOI: 10.2307/2644991Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the significance of a landmark coalition of conservatives, President Roh Tae-Woo and the two opposition leaders, Kim Young-Sam and Kim Jong-Pil, leaving the largest opposition, Kim Dae-Jung, on the other side of South Korean political spectrum. Captures dynamic and tumultuous domestic political process in the midst of South Korean democratization.

    Find this resource:

Civil Society and Democratization

Some of the best treatments of South Korean democratization are found in this second group, which addresses the role of South Korean civil society. Kim 2000, Lee 2007, and Shin 1999 provide an excellent, comprehensive analysis on the role of students, intellectuals, and other civil society groups by carefully researching how the agency challenged the existing political status-quo under the authoritarian regimes. Dong 1987 details the patterns of university students’ democratization movement under the Chun Doo-Hwan regime. Kim 1980 provides a theoretical framework on the political participation and democracy in South Korea. Helgesen 1998 examines South Korean political culture and its links to democracy.

  • Dong, Wonmo. “University Students in South Korean Politics: Patterns of Radicalization in the 1980s.” Journal of International Affairs 40 (1987): 233–255.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An overview of the role that university students played in South Korea’s democratization. Focuses on the patterns of their activities under the Chun Doo-Hwan regime.

    Find this resource:

  • Helgesen, Geir. Democracy and Authority in Korea: The Cultural Dimension in Korean Politics. New York: St. Martin’s, 1998.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the relationship between culture and politics in the context of Korean politics. Discusses political socialization and education.

    Find this resource:

  • Kim, Choong Lim, ed. Political Participation in Korea: Democracy, Mobilization, and Stability. Santa Barbara, CA: Clio Books, 1980.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A systemic presentation of South Korea’s political participation. Provides theoretical models of political participation—the mobilized, democratic, and anomic participation models—as well as empirical research.

    Find this resource:

  • Kim, Sunhyuk. The Politics of Democratization in Korea: The Role of Civil Society. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A short overview of Korean democratization. Provides a theoretical framework as well as an empirical case study. Can be used as an undergraduate textbook. Explains the transition to democracy in South Korea in terms of a mass-driven pro-democracy movement of the civil society as opposed to the elite-centered approach.

    Find this resource:

  • Lee, Namhee. The Making of Minjung: Democracy and the Politics of Representation in South Korea. Ithaca, NY, and London: Cornell University Press, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A contribution to the South Korean democratization literature. Focuses on the role of intellectuals and university students as the agency of the “common people” in the country’s democratization movement. Theoretically and empirically illuminating.

    Find this resource:

  • Shin, Doh C. Mass Politics and Culture in Democratizing Korea. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A landmark addition to the literature on South Korean democratization for the book’s breadth, theoretical analysis, and empirical research based on the six national sample surveys of the Korean electorate. Places the mass at the center of analysis and examines the cultural and political dynamics of a democratizing Korea.

    Find this resource:

Democratic Consolidation

Some of the more recent works on democratization deal with the ongoing questions of whether or not, and to what extent, South Korean democracy has been consolidated and matured. Diamond and Kim 2000 and Kim 2003 offer an excellent overview on the issue of democratic consolidation and are useful for those who are interested in identifying some of the challenges in South Korea’s democracy. Kim 2006, Kim 2000, and Park 2010 explore the changing dynamics of state-society relations after democratization. Steinberg and Shin 2006 and Lee and Lim 2006 examine South Korea’s steps toward a mature democracy, including the rise of the Labor Party. Ch’oe 2002 focuses on the problems of South Korean democracy after the 1987 transition.

  • Ch’oe, Chang-jip. Minjuhwa ihu ŭi minjujuŭi: Han’guk minjujuŭi ŭi posujŏk kiwŏn kwa wigi. Sŏul T‘ŭkpyŏlsi, South Korea: Humanit’asŭumanit’, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    “Democracy after democratization: Conservative origins and crises of South Korean democracy.” Addresses the problems of post-1987 South Korean democracy by examining structural and historical factors.

    Find this resource:

  • Diamond, Larry, and Byung-Kook Kim, eds. Consolidating Democracy in South Korea. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Written by leading scholars of South Korean politics, the book offers an overview of its political system on the theme of democratic consolidation. Topics include party politics, civil society, labor issues and economic development, and electoral politics.

    Find this resource:

  • Kim, Andrew Eungi. “Civic Activism and Korean Democracy: The Impact of Blacklisting Campaigns in the 2000 and 2004 General Elections.” Pacific Review 19.4 (2006): 519–542.

    DOI: 10.1080/09512740600984937Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Highlights the so-called “blacklisting campaign” by civic groups in South Korea in the 2000 and 2004 general elections. Discusses how civic groups’ movement was designed to frustrate allegedly corrupt politicians’ political careers.

    Find this resource:

  • Kim, Hyuk-Rae. “The State and Civil Society in Transition: The Role of Non-governmental Organizations in South Korea.” Pacific Review 13.4 (2000): 595–613.

    DOI: 10.1080/095127400455341Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Provides an overview of civil society in South Korean politics. Situates the role of nongovernment organization in the larger trend of democratization of Korea and discusses some of the more recent developments of the NGO sector.

    Find this resource:

  • Kim, Samuel S., ed. Korea’s Democratization. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An edited volume that examines various aspects of Korea’s democratic consolidation at the mass, global, and state levels. A general overview of South Korean democratization by addressing the factors that are facilitating and/or inhibiting democratic maturity.

    Find this resource:

  • Lee, Yeonho, and Yoo-Jin Lim. “The Rise of the Labor Party in South Korea: Causes and Limits.” Pacific Review 19.3 (2006): 305–335.

    DOI: 10.1080/09512740600875093Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the rise of the Labor Party as a sign of South Korean democratic maturity. Discusses the future prospect for the Labor Party.

    Find this resource:

  • Park, Sang-Young. “Crafting and Dismantling the Egalitarian Social Contract: The Changing State-Society Relation in Globalizing Korea.” Pacific Review 23.5 (2010): 579–601.

    DOI: 10.1080/09512748.2010.522247Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Approaches the state-society relations in a post-developmental state Korea. Examines how since the 1990s, the previously egalitarian educational policies underwent neoliberal reforms to accommodate the demands of the middle class who can afford private education.

    Find this resource:

  • Steinberg, David, and Myung Shin. “Tensions in South Korean Political Parties in Transition: From Entourage to Ideology.” Asian Survey 46.4 (July/August 2006): 517–537.

    DOI: 10.1525/as.2006.46.4.517Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discusses various aspects of South Korea’s transition to a mature democracy. Addresses the rise of the Labor Party in the context of the role of ideology in South Korean party politics.

    Find this resource:

Contemporary Political Processes and Institutions

Sim 2004 and Kim 2001 offer a good overview of party politics in South Korea, while Kim 1991 deals with South Korean bureaucracy. Kang 2003 is a study of South Korean elections between 1992 and 2002 with particular references to ideology, generations, regions, and media. Kim 1989 is an analysis of the 1998 parliamentary election examining the phenomenon of “large opposition and small government” after the change of electoral rules in the Sixth Republic. Park 1988 offers a good analysis on South Korean legislature. Chin 2004 focuses on the problems of the South Korean presidency and examines some of the proposals for reform. Cho 2009 offers an insight into South Korean political participation through the lens of the 2009 candlelight vigil in terms of its relation to contemporary political ideologies in South Korea.

  • Chin, Yŏng-jae, ed. Han’guk kwŏllyŏk kujo ŭi ihae. Seoul, South Korea: Nanam Ch’ulp’an, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Understanding South Korea’s power structure. Analyzes the power structure of South Korean domestic politics. Written by ten political scientists of South Korean political institutions, the book addresses some of the limits that the current South Korean–style presidency has.

    Find this resource:

  • Cho, Ki-Suk. “2008 chotbul jibheo chamyeoja ui inyumjuk chunghyang.” Journal of the Korean Political Science Association 43 (2009): 125–148.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    “The ideological orientation of 2008 candlelight vigil participants: anti-American, pro-North Korean Left or anti-neoliberalism?” Based on survey data, the article shows that the 2008 candlelight vigil was not a leftist gathering representing political ideologies of pro-North Korea/anti-Americanism progressives. The 2008 political participation was more about post-materialism or cultural progressivism.

    Find this resource:

  • Kang, Wŏn-t’aek. Han’guk ŭi sŏn’gŏ chŏngch’i: inyŏm, chiyŏk, sedae wa midiŏ. Sŏul-si, South Korea: P’urŭn Kil, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    “Electoral politics in South Korea: Ideology, regions, generations and media.” Traces the trends in South Korea’s electoral politics between 1992 and 2002. Focuses on the themes of ideology, regionalism, generations, and the media to explain the dynamic relationship between elections and South Korean politics.

    Find this resource:

  • Kim, Hong Nack. “The 1988 Parliamentary Election in South Korea.” Asian Survey 29.5 (1989): 480–495.

    DOI: 10.2307/2644533Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An analysis of the 1988 parliamentary election that took place just after South Korea’s 1987 transition to democracy. Discusses the phenomenon yadae yoso (large opposition and small government) and the election law under the new constitution of the Sixth Republic.

    Find this resource:

  • Kim, Kwang-ung. Hankuk ui gwanryoje yongu. Seoul, South Korea: Daeyoung Munwhasa, 1991.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes various aspects of South Korea’s bureaucracy including its characteristics, the relationship between South Korean bureaucracy and economic development, and the relationship between the state and law among others.

    Find this resource:

  • Kim, Yong-ho. Han’guk chŏngdang chŏngch’i ŭi ihae. Seoul, South Korea: Nanam Ch’ulp’an, 2001.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    “Understanding party politics in South Korea.” A comprehensive study on South Korea’s party politics throughout its modern political history.

    Find this resource:

  • Park, Chan-Wook. “Legislators and Their Constituents in South Korea: The Patterns of District Representation.” Asian Survey 28.10 (1988): 1049–1065.

    DOI: 10.2307/2644706Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Offers a useful overview of South Korea’s legislature. Discusses how South Korean legislatures have responded to the needs of their constituencies against the backdrop of the country’s centralized power configurations.

    Find this resource:

  • Sim, Chi-yŏn, ed. Hyŏndae chŏngdang chŏngch’i ŭi ihae. Seoul, South Korea: Paeksan Sŏdang, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    “Understanding contemporary party politics.” An edited volume written in Korean by leading South Korean political scientists who work on South Korean party politics. Sheds lights on various aspects of party politics in South Korea, including the history, ideology, the structure of party politics, and the relationship between political parties and the parliament.

    Find this resource:

Political Economy

South Korean political economy is an area to which many scholars have paid a great deal of attention. That is because South Korea, one of the Newly Industrialized Countries (NICs), represented a strong case study for a “developmental state,” whose rapid economic development is explained by government intervention into the market. The subsections introduce three strands of the South Korean political economy literature: (1) South Korea’s development model, (2) the political dynamics of the economic development under the authoritarian regimes, and (3) the 1997 financial crisis (known as the IMF crisis) and the reform efforts.

South Korean Developmental Model

This literature engages in a debate to explain South Korea’s rapid economic development. Kuznets 1977 views it more from the perspective of policy reforms that led to export-led growth, while Jones and SaKong 1980 and Amsden 1989 emphasize the role that the interventionist state played. Haggard 1986 provides an excellent overview of this scholarship. Haggard, et al. 1991 argues economic policies alone cannot explain South Korean economic development and that administrative capacities were crucial. Cho and Kim 1991 contributes to the debate by offering detailed discussions on various aspects of the economic politics during the Park Chung-Hee administration. Chung 2006 and Woo 1991 go back to the Korean economy during the period of the Japanese colonialism to understand the seeds for Korean economic development later.

  • Amsden, Alice H. Asia’s Next Giant: South Korea and Late Industrialization. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A classic. Addresses the question of why South Korea has achieved faster economic development among the late industrializers in Asia. Along with Jones and SaKong 1980, a comprehensive analysis that focuses on the role of the state in disciplining big businesses.

    Find this resource:

  • Cho, Lee-Jay, and Yoon Hyung Kim, eds. Economic Development in the Republic of Korea: A Policy Perspective. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1991.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Joining the debate on the causes of South Korea’s rapid economic development, the book focuses on economic politics during the Park Chung-Hee administration. Particularly useful if interested in monetary, price policies, taxation policies, agricultural politics, industrial policies as well as other cultural, educational social factors.

    Find this resource:

  • Chung, Young-Iob. Korea Under Siege, 1876–1945: Capital Formation and Economic Transformation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

    DOI: 10.1093/0195178300.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the transformative years of Korea’s modern capitalist economy between the mid-1870s and 1945 under the Japanese colonial rule of Korea. Avoiding excessive historical description, the book focuses on capital formation and its effect on Korea’s economic transformation from a traditional to a colonial economy. Uses Korean, Japanese, and English materials.

    Find this resource:

  • Haggard, Stephan. “Review Article: The Newly Industrializing Countries in the International System.” World Politics 38.2 (1986): 343–370.

    DOI: 10.2307/2010241Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Not specifically about South Korea, but provides a context in which South Korea as a newly industrializing country is a part of this new economic force in international politics.

    Find this resource:

  • Haggard, Stephen, Byung-Kook Kim, and Chung-In Moon. “The Transition to Export-Led Growth in South Korea: 1954–1966.” Journal of Asian Studies 50 (1991): 850–873.

    DOI: 10.2307/2058544Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An addition to the debate on the sources of South Korean political economy. Argues a set of policy reforms alone cannot explain South Korea’s takeoff and that the economic growth was supported by a set of administrative capacities to implement such policies.

    Find this resource:

  • Jones, Leroy P., and Il SaKong. Government, Business, and Entrepreneurship in Economic Development: The Korean Case. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1980.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines how government policies were formulated and implemented in the context of the interactions between government and business. In the debate on the sources of South Korean economy’s takeoff, this work belongs to the camp that emphasizes the role of government intervention.

    Find this resource:

  • Kuznets, Paul W. Economic Growth and Structure in the Republic of Korea. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1977.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    One of the early works that explains South Korea’s rapid economic development between 1953 and the 1970s. Belongs to the camp that views South Korean economy’s takeoff as stemming from policy reforms.

    Find this resource:

  • Woo, Jung-en. Race to the Swift: State and Finance in Korean Industrialization. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Traces back to colonial Korea to understand how a strong, interventionist state came about in the first place. Puts forward an argument that focuses on the role of state in terms of allocating and mobilizing finance and social consequences to explain the Korean developmental model.

    Find this resource:

The Politics of Economic Development

Clifford 1998, Kang 2002, Cole and Lyman 1971, and Judd and Lee 2000 address the interplay between politics and economic development, and especially the relationships between government, big businesses, and banks. Cole and Lyman 1971 is one of the early works on the politics and economy in South Korea. Kang 2002, for example, explores the issue of corruption and its relation to South Korea’s economic performance. Clifford 1998 discusses the dynamics among business, government, and the military in an easy-to-understand way. Judd and Lee 2000 focuses on the question of economic reform in South Korea. Lie 1998 sheds light on the negative consequences of government-led, economy-first policy while Adelman and Robinson 1978 explores the issue of income distribution. Mo and Moon 1999 provides an overview of how democratization affected economic development. Lew, et al. 2011 examines the relationship between Confucian ethics and South Korean economic development.

  • Adelman, Irma, and Sherman Robinson. Income Distribution Policy in Developing Countries: A Case Study of Korea. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1978.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using South Korea as a case study, this project was conducted with the support of the World Bank in order to examine the relationship between economic growth and income distribution. Uses a computable model for policy experiments with anti-poverty programs and development strategies.

    Find this resource:

  • Clifford, Mark L. Troubled Tiger: Businessmen, Bureaucrats, and Generals in South Korea. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1998.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An account of the relationship between South Korea’s authoritarian politics and economic growth. Non-scholarly, can be a good choice for undergraduate and graduate courses. Describes South Korean political economy in term of the dynamics among business, government, and the military.

    Find this resource:

  • Cole, David C., and Princeton N. Lyman. Korean Development: The Interplay of Politics and Economics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    One of the important early works on South Korean development. Covers the country’s transformation during the mid-1960s, which includes the leadership change through Park’s military coup and changes in the economic structure.

    Find this resource:

  • Judd, Kenneth L., and Young Ki Lee, eds. An Agenda for Economic Reform in Korea: International Perspectives. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A collection of papers written just before the 1997–1998 Asian financial crises. Addresses a moral hazard problem of cozy relationships among government, big businesses, and banks. Recommends reforms in the areas of corporate governance, labor issue, and income distribution among others.

    Find this resource:

  • Kang, David C. Crony Capitalism: Corruption and Development in South Korea and the Philippines. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511606175Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A seminal work on the comparative politics of South Korea. Uses the Philippines as the other case study and looks into the relationship between corruption and economic development. Clarifies the conditions under which money politics does not necessarily hinder economic growth.

    Find this resource:

  • Lew, Seok-Choon, Woo-Young Choi, and Hye Suk Wang. “Confucian Ethics and the Spirit of Capitalism in Korea: The Significance of Filial Piety.” Journal of East Asian Studies 11.2 (2011): 171–196.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Contrary to the view that Confucianism is negatively related to capitalism, this article argues that the value of “filial piety” in fact provides a powerful economic motivation, which is valid in the case of South Korean economic development.

    Find this resource:

  • Lie, John. Han Unbound: The Political Economy of South Korea. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1998.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A critique of the conventional approach of South Korean political economy that tends to shed light only on the “winners.” Addresses issues such as low-wage workers, authoritarian politics, poor urban population, and farmers.

    Find this resource:

  • Mo, Jongryn, and Chung-in Moon, eds. Democracy and the Korean Economy. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines how democratization affects the economy using South Korea as a case study. Focuses on policy change as a key intervening mechanism through which democratization affects economic development.

    Find this resource:

The 1997 Financial Crisis and Reforms

Haggard 2000 provides an excellent overview on the topic of government-business relations and explains the causes of the Asian financial crisis with South Korea as an important case study. Jwa 2001 and Haggard and Mo 2000 offer a good overview of South Korea’s financial crisis and reforms.

  • Haggard, Stephan. The Political Economy of the Asian Financial Crisis. Washington, DC: Institute for International Economics, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A book that provides an overview on the debate over what triggered the Asian financial crisis. His argument highlights the relations between the political and institutional features of business-government relations and the economic vulnerability of these Asian countries.

    Find this resource:

  • Haggard, Stephan, and Jongryn Mo. “The Political Economy of the Korean Financial Crisis.” Review of International Political Economy 7.2 (2000): 197–218.

    DOI: 10.1080/096922900346947Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An overview of the South Korean financial crisis and its political economy.

    Find this resource:

  • Jwa, Sung-Hee. A New Paradigm for Korea’s Economic Development: From Government Control to Market Economy. New York: Palgrave, 2001.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Provides a description of South Korea’s thirty-year experience of economic development starting from the 1970s. Covers the topics of the 1997 Asian financial crisis and Kim Dae-Jung’s structural reforms.

    Find this resource:

Inter-Korean Relations and Unification

Cha 2012 addresses the question of unification by focusing on the North Korean state and is the first book published after the death of Kim Jong-il. Grinker 1998 and Bleiker 2005 urge the reader to change the way we normally think about the division of the peninsula and the question of unification. Moon 2012 is an in-depth look into the Sunshine Policy, South Korea’s engagement strategy toward Pyongyang. Park and Kim 2010 is an analysis of inter-Korean relations dynamics during the Lee Myung-Bak administration.

  • Bleiker, Roland. Divided Korea: Toward a Culture of Reconciliation. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Focuses on the relationship between security dilemma and identity. The book is useful for those who want to see an alternative approach to unification other than by security studies specialists.

    Find this resource:

  • Cha, Victor. The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future. New York: Ecco, 2012.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Advances an argument about an impending leadership and socioeconomic crisis in North Korea that will prompt unification. The first book on Korea since the death of Kim Jong-il.

    Find this resource:

  • Chwa, Sŭng-hŭi, Chung-in Moon, and Chŏng-ho No. Constitutional Handbook on Korean Unification. Seoul, South Korea: Korea Economic Research Institute, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A total of four volumes include introduction (Vol. 1), political and social issues (Vol. 2), law issues (Vol. 3), and economic issues (Vol. 4). A useful reference on unification written in Korean.

    Find this resource:

  • Grinker, Roy Richard. Korea and Its Futures: Unification and the Unfinished War. New York: St. Martin’s, 1998.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Essays urge readers to rethink the conventional ways of approaching unification.

    Find this resource:

  • Moon, Chung-in. The Sunshine Policy: In Defense of Engagement as a Path to Peace in Korea. Seoul, South Korea: Yonsei University Press, 2012.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An analysis of the Sunshine Policy during the Kim Dae-Jung administration. Argues that Seoul should adopt the Sunshine Policy, an engagement strategy.

    Find this resource:

  • Park, Myoung-Kyu, and Philo Kim. “Inter-Korean Relations in Nuclear Politics.” Asian Perspective 34.1 (2010): 111–135.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Focuses on inter-Korean relations during the Lee Myung-Bak administration. Introduces the survey data on South Korean public attitude toward unification, the level of public support for humanitarian assistance to North Korea, North Korean defectors’ views on the juche ideology and on Kim Jong-Il.

    Find this resource:

Security Relations

Clough 1987 and Khil 1994 provide a good understanding of competitive security relations between the two Koreas. Hamm 1999 focuses on the dynamics of armament in inter-Korean military rivalry. More recently, Kim 2007 specifically focuses the notion of security dilemma to explain the politics of the Korean peninsula.

  • Clough, Ralph Nelson. Embattled Korea: The Rivalry for International Support. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1987.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Published in the 1980s, the book addresses the rivalry between Pyongyang and Seoul. Useful as an introduction to inter-Korean relations.

    Find this resource:

  • Hamm, Taik-young. Arming the Two Koreas: State, Capital, and Military Power. London: Routledge, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An analysis of the two Korea’s armament dynamics from the Korean War to the 1990s. Useful for those who want to deepen understanding of the nature of Seoul-Pyongyang military rivalry.

    Find this resource:

  • Khil, Young Whan, ed. Korea and the World: Beyond the Cold War. Boulder, CO, and Oxford: Westview, 1994.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Published after the breakdown of the Cold War in world politics, Khil discusses the Korean peninsula situation with an eye on the issue of unification.

    Find this resource:

  • Kim, Jungsup. International Politics and Security in Korea. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explains the major events of inter-Korean relations between the years 1988 and 1997 using the concept of security dilemma in international relations. Argues that the confrontational relations between Seoul and Pyongyang come from the dynamics of security dilemma and the domestic politics of South Korea.

    Find this resource:

Foreign Relations

Koh 1984 is a classic that can provide an overview of foreign policy establishments of the two Koreas. Kim 2000 discusses the post–Cold War South Korean foreign policy with particular reference to the theme of globalization. Rozman, et al. 2008 is an excellent treatment of the security issues of South Korea and can make a good textbook for graduate courses on Asian security and Korea. On Korea-Japan relations, Cha 1999 contributes to the literature on alliance in international relations. Chung 2007 is a very useful source to those who seek an understanding on the strategic situations of the Korean peninsula with the rise of China, while Snyder 2009 similarly is an excellent treatment of South Korea’s relations with China especially with the rise of Chinese power. Kang 2009 argues that unlike predictions from balance of power theory, South Korea’s reaction to China’s rise is neither bandwagoning nor balancing. Cha 2001 addresses the military modernization of South Korea.

  • Cha, Victor D. Alignment Despite Antagonism: The United States-Korea-Japan Security Triangle. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the Washington-Tokyo-Seoul triangular security relations between the Nixon and the Reagan administrations. Provides valuable data based on rigorous archival research as well as interviews.

    Find this resource:

  • Cha, Victor. “Strategic Culture and the Military Modernization of South Korea.” Armed Forces and Society 28.1 (2001): 99–127.

    DOI: 10.1177/0095327X0102800106Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A helpful overview of the ROK military. Challenging the “affluence” and “arms” arguments, Cha explains South Korea’s military modernization through a strategic cultural framework.

    Find this resource:

  • Chung, Jae Ho. Between Ally and Partner: Korea-China Relations and the United States. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An important contribution to the literature on South Korea’s relations with China. Examines South Korea’s foreign policy choices between the United States and a rising China.

    Find this resource:

  • Kang, David. “Between Balancing and Bandwagoning: South Korea’s Response to China.” Journal of East Asian Studies 9.1 (2009): 1–28.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    One of the most influential arguments on South Korea’s response to a rising China. Analyzes why Seoul has neither balanced nor bandwagoned with China. Makes an interest-based argument.

    Find this resource:

  • Kim, Samuel, ed. Korea’s Globalization. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Offers studies on South Korea’s push for globalization. The edited volume brings together leading experts of Korea and discusses the workings as well as the consequences of globalization in the South Korean context.

    Find this resource:

  • Koh, Byung Chul. The Foreign Policy Systems of North and South Korea. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1984.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A comprehensive treatment of the foreign policy of the two Koreas. Analyzes and compares the two systems in terms of external and internal environments, attitude, elite images as well as the decision-making aspects.

    Find this resource:

  • Rozman, Gilbert, In-Taek Hyun, and Shin-hwa Lee, eds. South Korean Strategic Thought toward Asia. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

    DOI: 10.1057/9780230611917Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An overview of South Korean foreign policy with particular reference to its national security. The edited volume highlights priorities and turning points in South Korean diplomacy from the Chun Doo-Hwan to Roh Moo-Hyun presidencies.

    Find this resource:

  • Snyder, Scott. China’s Rise and the Two Koreas: Politics, Economics, Security. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the interplay between economic interdependence and political influence in the context of China’s rise and its impact on the balance of power between Seoul and Pyongyang. Argues China’s attempts to use economic incentives for political influence in its relations with the two Koreas have been unsuccessful.

    Find this resource:

ROK Alliance with the United States

The US–ROK alliance is another area where one finds many high-quality scholarly works. Cossa and Oxley 2000 and Lee 2006 provide a good overview of the topic. Cha 1999, Cha 2009–2010, and Suh 2007 explain the origins and the workings of the US–ROK alliance while engaging in international relations theories. Moon 1997, Shin 2010, and Yeo 2011 approach the alliance from the perspectives of gender issue, identity politics, and social movement, respectively.

  • Cha, Victor D. Alignment Despite Antagonism: The United States-Korea-Japan Security Triangle. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the Washington-Tokyo-Seoul triangular relations. Pushed forward the scholarship on alliance by building a theory of “quasi-alliance.” A helpful overview of the triangular relations between the Nixon and Reagan administrations.

    Find this resource:

  • Cha, Victor C. “Powerplay: Origins of the U.S. Alliance System in Asia.” International Security 34.3 (Winter 2009–2010): 158–196.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explains why the US engagement with Asia during the early Cold War years took the form of bilateralism. Focusing on the concept of “powerplay,” the article situates the US–ROK alliance in a larger picture of US strategic thinking in the early years of the Cold War in Asia. A helpful combination of IR theory and empirical research.

    Find this resource:

  • Cossa, Ralph, and Alan Oxley. “The U.S.-Korea Alliance.” In America’s Asian Alliances. Edited by Robert Blackwill and Paul Dibb, 61–86. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Provides a great overview on the US–ROK alliance. Can be a useful textbook for a course on US-Asia relations since each chapter of the book addresses the US alliance relations with its different Asian partners.

    Find this resource:

  • Lee, Chae-Jin. A Troubled Peace: U.S. Policy and the Two Koreas. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Illuminates the contours of relations between the United States and the two Koreas in a comprehensive manner. A little dense but informative.

    Find this resource:

  • Moon, Katharine H. S. Sex Among Allies: Military Prostitution in U.S.-Korea Relations. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the US–ROK alliance from a feminist international relations perspective. Addresses the issue of camptown prostitution. A valuable addition to the US–ROK alliance literature by illuminating an often-ignored facet of their bilateral relations. A great combination of social science and the day-to-day life of women.

    Find this resource:

  • Shin, Gi-Wook. One Alliance, Two Lenses: U.S.-Korea Relations in a New Era. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explains the policy discord between Seoul and Washington between 1992 and 2003 in relation to South Korean identity politics. Informative and particularly useful to those who are interested in understanding how major news dailies in both South Korea and the United States have portrayed the relationship.

    Find this resource:

  • Suh, Jae-Jung. Power, Interest, and Identity in Military Alliances. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the persistence of the US–ROK alliance through the lenses of power, interest, and identity. Applies international relations theories to the case of the alliance.

    Find this resource:

  • Yeo, Andrew. Activists, Alliances, and Anti-U.S. Base Protests. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A book on anti-US base protests in South Korea that deals with the overlapping area of social movement and the US–ROK alliance. A solid theoretical and empirical analysis that makes an important addition to the alliance literature.

    Find this resource:

LAST MODIFIED: 07/24/2013

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199756223-0110

back to top

Article

Up

Down