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Preface 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 sponsored by POSCO, BHP, Rio Tinto, and the Australia-Korea Foundation, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia. The IKSC attracted many distinguished participants, including twenty-six prominent figures and scholars from Australia, Korea, Japan, and the Unites States. As the organizers of the IKSC, we strove to ensure that the presenters would deliver diverse viewpoints with a sharp focus on Korea’s modern experience under Park’s rule, while including a broader perspective beyond the hitherto prevailing dichotomies of industrialization versus democratization. Reassessing the Park Chung Hee Era, 1961–1979, is distinctive in the sense that several authors with ideological differences, that is conservatives and progressives , are engaged in a face-to-face discussion on the Park era. In this respect, we are particularly pleased to secure a special chapter from Professor Paik Nak Chung (Paek Nakch’ŏng), a prominent literary critic and editor of the leading quarterly journal, Ch’angbi who was also one of the two keynote speakers at the IKSC and has generously revised his original keynote paper for this book. Paik’s chapter, entitled “How to Think About the Park Era,” reflects on one of the key questions to which many Koreans try to find answers in the public debate on the Park era. With his understanding of such on-going public interest, whether positively or negatively, Paik examines Park’s version Preface viii of development which, he argues, was fundamentally unsustainable because it was built on a “militarist ethos” which brought about Korea’s environmental destruction. Paik also views Park’s version of development as unsustainable because, according to Paik it was rooted in the shallow developmental philosophy of “Let’s live well” (Chal sara pose) which he dismisses as “beggar philosophy.” This is not to say that Paik denies due acknowledgement to the extraordinary economic achievements of the Park era and to Park’s choice of an exportled development model which Paik assesses as “a more realistic appraisal of the possibilities actually offered . . . by the capitalist world-system and Korea’s standing within it.” Paik’s interpretation is not necessarily shared by all Koreans and thus the topic he raises remains open to further research and questioning. In the course of preparing this manuscript, which took much longer than initially anticipated, I have received generous support from the Department of Political and Social Change at the Australian National University. Also, the Center for Korea Studies at the University of Washington partly supported my 2006 business visit there. My sincere thanks go to all of the contributors of chapters to this book as well as to those who participated in the IKSC. From the Korean side, I would like to thank Kang Sam-Soo and Yu Han-Sik, chairman and president of EM Korea Co. Ltd, as well as Messrs Lew Byung-Hyun, Lee Hun-Kwŏn, and Jhee Kyung-Jun, whose joint support for this project was vital in enabling me to complete this long-awaited project. Lastly, I would like to express my special thanks to Professor James B. Palais, who passed away in August 2006. His analysis of Korea’s democracy stimulated much debate and discussion at the IKSC. His original essay, published as chapter six of this book, is therefore one of his last research-based commentaries, which will be treasured by many students of Korean studies for years to come. Hyung-A Kim Canberra June 2011 ...


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