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Civil society and local activism in South Korea's local democratization

Civil society and local activism in South Korea's local democratization Recent studies on causes of intergovernmental transformation in old and new democracies have found that decentralization is often the outcome of negotiations between national and local political interests. South Korea is commonly believed to be an exception because local elections and institutions introduced in the early 1990s were, by and large, the product of negotiations among political elites at the centre, without significant inclusion of local actors. However, this article attempts to explicate a hitherto ignored aspect of decentralization reform in Korea: the role of civil society and local activism in the politics of decentralization. In the 2000s, several ‘triggering events’ such as economic instability, democratic consolidation, emergence of civilian leaders, and the growth of civil society provided a strong momentum for the decentralization movement. We demonstrate how civic organizations at both national and local levels have played significant roles in proposing and pushing for decentralization, and argue that the bottom-up movement for decentralization under the Roh Moo-hyun administration was surprisingly well mobilized and institutionalized, especially at the agenda-setting stage. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Democratization Taylor & Francis

Civil society and local activism in South Korea's local democratization

Democratization , Volume 20 (2): 27 – Mar 1, 2013
27 pages

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References (77)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
1743-890X
eISSN
1351-0347
DOI
10.1080/13510347.2011.650913
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Recent studies on causes of intergovernmental transformation in old and new democracies have found that decentralization is often the outcome of negotiations between national and local political interests. South Korea is commonly believed to be an exception because local elections and institutions introduced in the early 1990s were, by and large, the product of negotiations among political elites at the centre, without significant inclusion of local actors. However, this article attempts to explicate a hitherto ignored aspect of decentralization reform in Korea: the role of civil society and local activism in the politics of decentralization. In the 2000s, several ‘triggering events’ such as economic instability, democratic consolidation, emergence of civilian leaders, and the growth of civil society provided a strong momentum for the decentralization movement. We demonstrate how civic organizations at both national and local levels have played significant roles in proposing and pushing for decentralization, and argue that the bottom-up movement for decentralization under the Roh Moo-hyun administration was surprisingly well mobilized and institutionalized, especially at the agenda-setting stage.

Journal

DemocratizationTaylor & Francis

Published: Mar 1, 2013

Keywords: civil society; decentralization; local democracy; South Korea; democratization

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