Civil society and political action in democratized Korea: Revamping democratic consolidation from a participatory perspective

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Abstract

This essay aims to re-evaluate the quality of democratic consolidation in South Korea from a participatory democracy perspective. In order to do so, I, drawing on Barber's theory of strong democracy, redefine democratic consolidation in terms of the active citizenship and political dynamism that it breeds rather than in terms of stability, which overly prefers a liberal-pluralist, yet inherently conservative, civil society to a more vibrant and sometimes intractable form of civil society. Understanding democratic consolidation as an open-ended, non-teleological, and perennial struggle for citizenship, I then focus on the Koreans' collective response to the deaths of two teenage girls struck by a US military vehicle in 2002 to explore how Koreans critically re-evaluate their collective identity and actively repossess citizenship in civil society through the inculcation and practice of chŏng, the Koreans' familial affectionate sentiment. I conclude by presenting “affectionate citizenship” as the most practicable model for Korean democracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-546
Number of pages20
JournalNew Political Science
Volume28
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Dec

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

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