Protest Politics and the Democratization of South Korea

Protest Politics and the Democratization of South Korea : Strategies and Roles of Women

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This book is about protest politics and social movements led by a group of women, the "Mothers," who were inadvertently drawn into South Korea's democratization movement from the 1970s to the 2000s. The Mothers were female family members of political dissidents of varying backgrounds and ages-college students, political and religious leaders, writers, and factory workers. Women who initially had very little in common developed a bond as the days of their families' detentions accumulated and their ordeals continued. This led them to form a quasi-organization prayer meeting group in the 1970s, which eventually developed into permanent Mothers' organizations in the mid-1980s. The Mothers in this book include both the early- and late-comers to the movement, as the membership has undergone many changes since its inception in the 1970s. While the individual Mothers are the primary focus, this book explores beyond their individual concerns and activities.
It discusses various methods the individual Mothers employed to promote their causes and attempts to study how the activities of the organizations founded by the inexperienced Mothers have affected the process of Korea's democratization and how they remain active decades later.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 190 pages
  • 157.48 x 231.14 x 20.32mm | 340.19g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 4 Tables, unspecified; 13 Halftones, black and white
  • 0739190253
  • 9780739190258

About Youngtae Shin

Youngtae Shin is professor of political science and directs Asian studies minor program at the University of Central Oklahoma.
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Review quote

Twenty-eight years after the summer of 1987 and the overthrow of the Chun Doo-hwan military regime, Shin has added another layer to the events, moving beyond the public display of tear gas barrages and Molotov cocktails to the private networks of care and support that enabled the drive for democratization. This contribution provides social scientists a qualitative resource for analyzing how participants join, organize, and maintain SMOs based on cultural and relational networks. It also directs our attention to the emotional and cultural practices that enable non-traditional political actors to enact social change, even in the face of strong-arm states. Pacific Affairs In the current literature on democratization, little is known about why some politically passive citizens become actively involved in its process, while others don't. This volume addresses these issues with repeated interviews with the mothers and wives whose sons and husbands were jailed or killed during decades of military rule in Korea. By focusing on these elderly women, often called Mothers, who were inadvertently drawn into protest politics, this study contributes to a humanistic understanding of what was really happening behind the scenes of its democratic regime change. Most notably, it demonstrates that neither structural nor rational theories alone can offer a comprehensive, dynamic, and meaningful account of democratization taking place in Korea and elsewhere. Such an account requires the development of a new theory that considers the shifting emotions of individual citizens, their newly emerging collective identity, and the cultural environment in which they live and work. This is one of must-read studies on contemporary Korea. -- Doh Chull Shin, University of California, Irvine This unique book focuses on how married women sustained and participated in protest politics, giving us many unique insights into the wives and mothers and the family background of protest in South Korea, a country deeply shaped by such protests for at least four decades after 1970. The author's analysis is rooted in theories of social movements, and she uses opinion surveys, interviews, diaries, and primary protest documents that give this work a rich research base. Most interesting are the unsung stories of mostly anonymous women, who by one means or another became involved in protest politics. It is a landmark work in that regard. -- Bruce Cumings, University of Chicago; author of The Origins of the Korean War
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Table of contents

Chapter 1: Theoretical Overview Chapter 2: Women before 1945 Chapter 3: Evolution to Political Beings in Post-Liberation Era Chapter 4: Learning and Doing Politics: Strategies and Works Chapter 5: Network Formation in Protest Movement Chapter 6: Resource Mobilization and Protest Strategies Chapter 7: Mothers' Stories Chapter 8: Conclusions and Prospects
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