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The Korean State and Social Policy

Stein Ringen, Huck-ju Kwon, Ilcheong Yi, Taekyoon Kim and Jooha Lee

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199734351
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199895373 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199734351.001.0001

Series: International Policy Exchange Series

The Korean State and Social Policy

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There are two great mysteries in the political economy of South Korea. How could a destroyed country in next to no time become a sophisticated and affluent economy? And how could a ruthlessly authoritarian regime metamorphose with relative ease into a stable democratic polity? To make sense of these mysteries the book follows two narratives for the period from 1945 to 2000. One is about social policy from its feeble roots in poor relief in the colonial period, early land reform, and the influx of foreign voluntary agencies in the first years of independence. And the second one is about the state and its shifting foundations in democracy, cronyism, chaebŏl capitalism, and dictatorship. South Korea took off to modernization in the authoritarian period. The authoritarian leaders created a Janus-faced state, which used hard power in the controlling of forces from below but in governance the softer strategy of mobilizing social forces into its design. There is no support in The Korean State for the theory that authoritarianism is conducive to development but every support for the theory that state leadership, authoritarian or not, depends on the mode of governance. Authoritarianism usually results in the crushing of civil society, but the South Korean brand inadvertently left a legacy of vibrant civil society institutions. Dismantling the hard power apparatus of the state still left the governance part intact. That part of the state the democratic rulers who came in when the authoritarian ones were overthrown could put to work for their purposes with little difficulty. This book is about many things: development and modernization, dictatorship and democracy, state capacity and governance, social protection and welfare states, and Korean history. But finally it is about lifting social policy analysis out of the ghetto of self-sufficiency it is often confined to and into the center ground of hard political science, where we think it belongs.

Keywords: social policy; state analysis; political history; authoritarianism; democracy; development; Asia; East Asia; Korea

Book.  146 pages. 

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Birth Of The State in The Korean State and Social Policy

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The State Meets Modernity in The Korean State and Social Policy

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The State Meets Business in The Korean State and Social Policy

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The State Meets Voluntarism in The Korean State and Social Policy

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The State Meets Democracy in The Korean State and Social Policy

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Conclusion: The Anatomy Of The State in The Korean State and Social Policy

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