S-Space College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학) Institute for Social Development and Policy Research (사회발전연구소) Development and Society Development and Society Vol.32 No.1/2 (2003)
Politics, Generation, And the Making of New Leadership in South Korea
- Song, Ho Keun
- Issue Date
- Institute for Social Development and Policy Research, Center for Social Sciences, Seoul National University
- Development and Society, Vol.32 No.1, pp. 103-123
- This paper examined the social and political background of the rise of new political leadership in the Presidential election of December 2002, analyzing voting outcome that reflected styles of life, thinking, and behavior of young generation. This paper contends that generational effect on voting was very significant as to break the rigidity of political support market consolidated by cleavage structure such as regional division in South Korea. Behind the marginal victory of President Roh Moo Hyun by a 2.2% over the competitor there existed a strong support of young generation that had developed far different cultural sentiments and ideological orientation from old generation. The young generation projected its generational mission on Mr. Roh to reject three main legacies, i.e., state centrism, authoritarianism, and growth-first ideology. This paper analyzes characteristics of his power brokers in the Transition Commission and political supporters, arguing that the progressive attitude such as pro-union, pro-distribution, and anti-elite approaches will receive severe attack from the conservative group, i.e., business and the upper class. Whether his regime successfully realizes the expectation of young generation entirely relies upon the toleration of the conservative group of the substitution of old social order and value system with new ones. It needs time to wait and see how his regime will successfully manage contested terrains where new ones are emerging and conflicting with old ones.
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