S-Space Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원) Dept. of International Studies (국제학과) Journal of International and Area Studies (JIAS) Asia Journal vol.03 (1996)
The Politics of Korean Working Class Women
- KIm, Hyun Mee
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 국제학연구소
- Journal of International and Area Studies, Vol.3 No.1, pp. 63-81
- After intermittent labor activism throughout the industrialization process, the working class in South Korea has emerged as an important political force in the late 1980s, beginning with what has been called "the Great Struggle of Laborers" [Nodongja Taet'ujaeng] between July and August 1987. During this two-month period, over 3,200 enterprises got involved in labor strife, including strikes, work stoppages, and walkouts, with approximately 1.2 million workers involved. This strike wave, albeit less intense and smaller, continued until the early 1990s. These embittered workers often took to the streets in order to demand their rights, which had been denied under repressive labor law as well as to protest the insensitive actions of management, and the widespread disdain of manual laborers in Korean society. The protests exacerbated mutual violence between the workers on one side against both the management and the state on the other. Without any institutionalized medium to channel workers' demands "from the bottom-up," workers often directed their pent-up grievances in street struggles.