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Lost and Found in «Translation»

Circulating Ideas of Policy and Legal Decisions Processes in Korea and Germany


Edited By Eun-Jeung Lee and Hannes B. Mosler

This book analyzes policy translation and its ends, how the concept of translation explains the emergence and (ex-)changes of policy ideas in different places and/or across borders in general, as well as the effectiveness of this concept in analyzing cases of actual policy dissemination. This book discusses these questions on a general theoretical level and within the context of actual policies and laws mainly between South Korea and Germany. South Korea is widely considered a typical example of a reforming country that is on the receiving end of disseminations of policies and ideas from advanced countries. From this point of view, it constitutes a highly interesting case for testing the applicability of the translation approach. The basic idea of this book is to analyze how different actors in different contexts and settings adopt varying interpretations and understandings of an idea, and how well the analytical concept of translation can be utilized for this endeavor.
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(4) Micro-Policy Translation and Policy Entrepreneurship in the Transformation of Korean Welfare Capitalism


Abstract Applying the analytical concept of translation the author presents a case study on the Emergence of the Employment Insurance System (EIS), a social insurance program established in the wake of democratization designed to guarantee the livelihoods of workers in times of unemployment as an example for decision-making processes in South Korean welfare policy.

1. Introduction

As a young democracy and emerging welfare state in East Asia, South Korea has experienced profound changes in its labor market institutions over recent decades, starting in the late 1980s in the wake of democratization. Some institutional arrangements were newly adopted, while existing ones were significantly strengthened.1 A large number of studies have dealt with these dynamics.2 Many of them have interpreted the emergence or replacement of certain welfare programs as the outcome of rational calculation by a government aiming to utilize such programs for political purposes.3 The logical connection between institutional changes and their political- or macro-economic context enables us to understand why certain changes occurred at a certain point in time. However, such a macro-factor-based explanation places limits on our understanding of ← 73 | 74 → why specific changes occurred; in other words, it cannot explain why specific institutional elements were revised or replaced, or why specific elements were freshly adopted as part of new institutions. This study will explore different logics in order to gain a more elaborate understanding of the institutional changes in Korean welfare capitalism, paying special attention to the international flow of knowledge in...

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