Kim Dae-Jung as a heresthetician: How did he transform south Korean Politics with Inter-Korean Dialogue?

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This paper examines how inter-Korean dialogue under the Sunshine Policy of Kim Dae-jung transformed South Korean politics by employing the concept of heresthetics coined by William Riker. It argues that Kim Dae-jung as a heresthetician disrupted South Korean politics based on stable regional cleavage by adding a new dimension of policy toward the North. Specifically, Kim Dae-jung's sunshine policy not only garnered electoral support in the 2000 general election but also posed a dilemma for his coalition partner, Kim Jong-pil. It was a dilemma in the sense that Kim Jong-pil had little choice but to defect or maintain the coalition; however, any choice would lead him and his party to eventual demise in a political game structured by Kim Dae-jung. Moreover, his heresthetics had lasting effects on Korean politics such as the creation of a larger coalition that supports cooperation with North Korea. This paper suggests the need for further research to rediscover Korean presidents' political strategies and their long-term effects from a variety of perspectives including Riker's heresthetics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727-749
Number of pages23
JournalKorea Observer
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Dec 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)

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