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This article identifies and analyzes economic and political factors behind the polarization of Korean civil society. Both the growing economic disparity between the rich and the poor and the tightened job market for the younger generation since the 1997-1998 financial crisis have contributed to a sharp divergence in views on how best to approach reforms. More importantly, political flux and instability deriving from the current “transitional politics” have aggravated the political polarization. The three major actors in this transitional politics—power elites, civic movement organizations, and the media—play a divisive rather than unifying role. Given that political institutions are still weak and a political culture for compromise remains largely absent, polarization of Korean society is likely to continue until the intense passions of the politicized civil society are dampened by successful institutionalization of conflict resolving mechanisms.