Joining the Club: a Critical Analysis of South Koreas Aid Policies and Discourse : 대한민국 대외원조 정책 및 담론 분석

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Kim, Taekyoon
국제대학원 국제학과(국제협력전공)
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서울대학교 국제대학원
South KoreaForeign AidEnglish SchoolDevelopment
학위논문 (석사)-- 서울대학교 국제대학원 : 국제학과(국제협력전공), 2015. 8. Kim, Taekyoon.
While global politics have become more equal than ever before ? notably with the end of Colonialism during the 20th century ? its hierarchical nature still subsides.
How can countries overcome the hierarchical nature of international politics and bolster their position in our global world? In order to address this puzzle, this project will focus on the case of South Korea and its successful ? and fulgurant ? ascension from a country in ashes to one of the most successful stories of political and economic development. How did South Korea achieve this feat? And what were the consequences of this process? This thesis will adopt the theoretical lens of the English School to offer a nuanced answer to these questions while paying special attention to the interconnected nature of South Korea's material and normative power. It is argued that South Korea's focus on foreign aid (embodied by its accession to the OECD-DAC) was a crucial element to becoming a core country of international society, but that in doing so, South Korea, despite its discourse on development, also started reinforcing pre-existing structures of exploitation. After introducing the topic of this thesis, the analytical framework of the English School and its methodological pluralism will be presented and located within past literature on the subject. From this discussion, specific research questions will be drawn, discussed, and a methodology will be put forth to tackle them. An historical overview of South Korea's relationship to International Society as well as an aid recipient will initially be provided to frame the following arguments: first, it will be argued that South Korea's decision to involve itself in development was a crucial element of South Korea ascension in International Society, and that joining the OECD-DAC in 2010 was the turning point which allowed South Korea to become a core country of international society. Specific attention will be given to the deliberate and intended nature of this political move and the change of narrative between President Lee's "Global Korea" and President Park's "Miracle on the Han." Second, the unintended consequences of this development will be brought forth by exposing the developmental myth repeated by the South Korean government that Korea's experience of development is similar to that of contemporary developing states. In order to do so, the South Korean model of development will be first be contrasted with the international norms it promotes, to show the contradictory nature of its discourse before showing how South Korean policies, by adhering so strongly to the norms of international society, might be also reproducing structures of negative behavior which may be detrimental to the improvement of the developing world. In conclusion, alternative paths of foreign aid for South Korea and possible next steps for further ascension within the international society will be offered.
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Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원)Dept. of International Studies (국제학과)Theses (Master's Degree_국제학과)
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