Chapter

The State Meets Modernity

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

in The Korean State and Social Policy

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199734351
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199895373 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199734351.003.0002

Series: International Policy Exchange Series

The State Meets Modernity

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The Korean state has been a strong state, and with a mission. Despite the dramatic politics unfolding for the last sixty years, the chapter argues that there has been a basic continuity of consensus, throughout both the authoritarian and democratic politics, over a shared mission of modernization, epitomized as industrialization. The chapter seeks to explain how the welfare state in Korea took its form of the developmental state during the period when the Korean state embarked on the national mission. The strong state was highly organized, and power was concentrated in the Presidency. The authoritarian presidents, most notably President Park Chung Hee, took advantage of the state mechanism to stay in power, but also used power effectively in governance to pursue the national mission, by co-opting different social actors, i.e., forces from below, to deliver. The developmental welfare state took its shape in this mixed governance. Within it, the state played the role of regulator. This mixed governance remains in democratic politics.

Keywords: modernization; the Strong state; mixed governance; the developmental welfare state; social insurance

Chapter.  11051 words. 

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