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Reassessing the Park Chung Hee Era, 1961-1979

Development, Political Thought, Democracy, and Cultural Influence

Edited by Hyung-A Kim and Clark W. Sorenson

Publication Year: 2011

Published by: University of Washington Press

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pp. vii-viii

This book grew out of the International Korean Studies Conference (IKSC) held at the University of Wollongong, Australia in November 2004 under the theme "The Park Era: A Reassessment After Twenty-Five Years," which examined some of the key questions surrounding the Park era, especially how it affected Korea's development into what it is today. The conference was...

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix

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pp. 3-16

In the second half of the twentieth century, the Republic of Korea (ROK) achieved a double revolution. In a few short years, South Korea shifted from an underdeveloped agricultural economy to an industrialized, high-income economy with highly developed heavy industry and information technology. During the same time South Korea shifted from military authoritarian...

Part One—Development

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1. Heavy and Chemical Industrialization, 1973–1979: South Korea's Homeland Security Measures

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pp. 19-42

The goals of developing an "independent economy" (charip kyŏngje) in the 1960s and an "independent defense" (chaju kukpang) in the 1970s were at the core of the political economy of the Park Chung Hee (Pak Chŏnghŭi) era. These two phases of South Korea's development are explained predominantly in terms of the impact of the cold war, particularly the change in U.S. foreign...

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2. POSCO: Building an Institution

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pp. 43-65

Having been a key driving force behind the Republic of Korea's (ROK) rapid industrialization, Pohang Iron & Steel Co. Ltd. (POSCO) is now the fifth largest steel company in the world, with an annual production capacity of 30 million tons of steel. POSCO has been widely recognized for its accomplishments, particularly as an international leader in productivity and efficiency...

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3. The Cold War and the Political Economy of the Park Chung Hee Regime

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pp. 66-82

No one can deny that the cold war influenced the political economy of the Park Chung Hee (Pak Chŏnghŭi) regime. First, President Park used the fact that South Korea had been both politically and militarily threatened by North Korea during the cold war to suppress anti-government movements and legitimize his authoritarian regime through promoting anti-communism. Second...

Special Essay

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4. How to Think about the Park Chung Hee Era

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pp. 85-91

I found the invitation to provide a chapter in this volume too great an honor to resist, but I have many times since then regretted not having resisted it. Not only do I lack the expertise for reassessing the Park era, but I have not done—and have to this day shamefully failed to do—even an educated layman's readings on the subject. My title, "How to Think about the Park Chung...

Part Two—Political Thought, Democracy, and Labor

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5. Park Chung Hee's Governing Ideas: Impact on National Consciousness and Identity

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pp. 95-106

There is a good deal of research on the political leadership and ruling ideas of President Park Chung Hee (Pak Chŏnghŭi). Evaluations of him and his era are not only numerous but also diverse. Research on Park can be classified into two basic types: that which discusses the political nature of Park's rule in relation to democracy and authoritarianism and that which focuses on the...

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6. Democracy in South Korea: An Optimistic View of ROK Democratic Development

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pp. 107-121

Most of the English literature on democratic development in South Korea is pessimistic. While almost all scholars agree that democracy has been achieved at the minimalist level, i.e., fair elections appear to have become the only method for choosing political leaders—the long-term prospects for "consolidated democracy" are suspect for a number of reasons...

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7. Labor Policy and Labor Relations during the Park Chung Hee Era

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pp. 122-141

As in most other areas, the Park Chung Hee era (Pak Chŏnghŭi) left a mixed legacy in labor policy and labor relations. On the one hand, his labor policy was successful in the sense that labor was effectively mobilized and harnessed to his industrialization program with minimal friction. Given that export-oriented industrialization depended heavily on the low-wage, hard-working...

Part Three—Cultural Influence and Civil Society

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8. Rural Modernization under the Park Regime in the 1960s

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pp. 145-165

When one looks back at the various Park regimes—the military junta (Supreme Council for National Reconstruction 1961–3), the semi-democratic Third Republic1 (1963–72), and the authoritarian Yusin Republic2 (1972–9)—from our vantage point in the early twenty-first century, the various periods tend to blur together. One tends to think of Five-Year Plans, the turn to export...

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9. Compressed Modernization and the Formation of a Developmentalist Mentalité

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pp. 166-186

South Koreans have struggled to overcome hunger and poverty for the past forty years. Despite the economic crisis of 1997–8, South Korea is now on the threshold of being one of the world’s most advanced economies. Millions of Koreans who are now over sixty years old have gone through historical turmoil. They have witnessed the transformation from a pre-modern to modern...

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10. The Park Chung Hee Era and the Genesis of Trans-Border Civil Society in East Asia

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pp. 187-204

The rapid maturing of South Korean civil society and democratic institutions following the "democratic revolution" of 1987 and the end of the cold war in 1989 has opened an intense debate on the nature and meaning of the Park Chung Hee (Pak Chŏnghŭi) era. Though the era survived in a modified form under the successor regimes to 1987, it now becomes almost an ancient, hotly...


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pp. 205-219


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pp. 220-221


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pp. 222-233

E-ISBN-13: 9780295801797
E-ISBN-10: 0295801794
Print-ISBN-13: 9780295991405
Print-ISBN-10: 0295991402

Publication Year: 2011