Korean Politics; The Quest for Democratization and Economic Development / Edition 1

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Extraordinary political and economic changes have rocked the Republic of Korea over the past fifty years. John Oh, a Korean-born political scientist, has written a clear and insightful account of government and politics throughout this turbulent period. His chronological and thematic study analyzes both the conflicts between authoritarian forces and populist/democratic elements and the nation's determined efforts to achieve economic growth.In relating Korea's transformation to a democratic society and an industrial state, Oh explains how the country's politics and economy are interrelated. He covers the launching of the first democratic republic, the emergence of military regimes, and the growth of the middle class and the civil society. He also reveals the causes of collusion between political and economic groups which led to corruption, structural anomalies, and economic crises.Korean Politics is the first English-language book to draw on original Korean-language sources including testimonies from the trials of former presidents in its analysis of their military-dominated governments. The book concludes with succinct discussions on the first peaceful transfer of power to an opposition leader, Kim Dae-jung. Timely and authoritative, it is an ideal classroom text and an indispensable reference on contemporary Korea.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A lucid and sometimes dramatic story and analysis of overcoming aristocratic power, colonial rule, and military despotism in Korea from the 19th century to the present, with a balanced consideration of the successes and costs of recent explosive economic growth. . . . Recommended for academic libraries and for public libraries with substantial international affairs collections."—Library Journal

"A sound and solidly researched volume. . . . Information which has up to now been available primarily in periodicals and daily newspapers is woven neatly into a narrative which is thankfully jargon-free."—Brian Bridges, International Affairs

"Oh draws on an impressive range of Korean-language material to tell the story of what really went on behind the formal scenes of South Korean politics. . . . He provides an exciting and stimulating account of the way successive South Korean leaders have ran the country for the benefit of themselves, their small supporting group and wider business interests. The style is engaging and clear, encouraging the reader on, and even those who have little background in South Korean politics will find the story clear and easy to follow, making the book a good introduction for the newcomer, and required reading for those who think they understand the South Korean political scene."—J. E. Hoare, Asian Affairs

"Do we need two perspectives—that is economical and political—in understanding the interplay of democracy and economic growth in South Korean Politics? . . . I believe that Korean Politics is a valuable contribution through which these theoretical issues may be further pursued."—Heng Lee, Review of Korean Studies

"Ambitious and well-written . . . . This book . . . covers a broad scope, from traditional society to the recent economic crisis of 1997 and the presidential election of 1998. . . Highly recommended for Korea specialists and may be of interest to the general reader because of its rich information about South Korea."—Ilpyong J. Kim, Journal of Asian Studies

Library Journal
Oh, author of Korea: Democracy on Trial (1968), a standard monograph, here provides a lucid and sometimes dramatic story and analysis of overcoming aristocratic power, colonial rule, and military despotism in Korea from the 19th century to the present, with a balanced consideration of the successes and costs of recent explosive economic growth. Oh credits the eventual democratic achievements to Korea's tradition of popular involvement in "righteous uprisings," the constitutional structure and expectations left by the American occupation, the creation of an educated middle class during the boom of the 1970s and 1980s, and the perseverence of many individuals. Political and economic theory is tucked into the narrative, with useful references to the literature. Korean democratization, while still provisional, is especially worth wider appreciation because of the debate over authoritarianism and economic development in Asia, from Singapore to China. Recommended for academic libraries and for public libraries with substantial international affairs collections.--Charles Hayford, Univ. of Iowa
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801484582
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1999
  • Series: Cornell Paperbacks Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Table of Contents

Map of Korea
Chronology and List of Tables
Introduction 1
1 Traditional Society 8
2 A "Democratic" Republic on Trial, 1945-1961 24
3 The First Military Coup and Economic Growth, 1961-1979 48
4 The Usurpation of Power and the Demand for Democratization, 1979-1987 74
5 The Transition and Economic Problems, 1987-1992 98
6 The "Civilian and Democratic" Government, 1992-1993 120
7 Institutionalizing Political and Economic Reforms, 1993-1995 138
8 Corruption, the Trial, and the National Assembly, 1995-1996 164
9 A Leadership Crisis and the Economy, 1996-1997 194
10 The Economic Crisis and the Presidential Election, 1997-1998 220
Conclusion 240
Selected Bibliography 247
Index 251
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