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Civil Society on the Move

Transition and Transfer in Germany and South Korea

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Eun-Jeung Lee and Hannes B. Mosler

Following the transformation of the Soviet-controlled Eastern European system, there has been a renewal of discourses on civil society. The collection of essays discusses this complicated and controversial concept and explores the possibility of new approaches for the study of Korean civil society and democracy. Combining interdisciplinary and transregional research, it contributes directly to the field of democracy after democratization and sheds light on concepts of civil society, developments of various civil society organizations and student movements in Germany, Korea, and Eastern Europe.
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The Social Impacts of Student Movement in Korea

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This study examines the social and political impact of the student movement on contemporary Korean society. Korean students played very significant roles in the long-term and sometimes crises-ridden transition into democracy. This essay posits that political democracy in Korea is not the inevitable result of industrialization and the leading role of the bourgeoisie, but a consequence of continual struggle and self-sacrificing efforts by students, intellectuals, and workers against authoritarian governments.

The Korean student movement has been a leading force in anti-imperialist and anti-dictatorship struggles in modern Korean history. It is well known for its role in the April Revolution of 1960, which toppled the dictatorial government (Kim 2006). Under subsequent military governments, students relentlessly organized anti-dictatorship protests, culminating in the Kwangju uprising of 1980 and the June uprising of 1987. This paper posits that political democracy in Korea is not the inevitable result of industrialization and the leading role of the bourgeoisie, but a consequence of continual struggle and self-sacrificing efforts by students, intellectuals, and workers against authoritarian governments (Przeworski et al. 2000). Most importantly, Korean students played very significant roles in the long-term and sometimes crises-ridden transition into democracy.

The democratization process in Korea raises important questions. For instance, why did the student movement play such a huge role in the process and how did they impact Korean society on the whole? Historically, student activism has been at the center of protest movements. Civil rights, democratic reforms and fierce campaigns against authoritarian governments...

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