The Structural Change of the Korean Environmental Movenent

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Ku, Do-Wan

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Population and Development Studies Center, Seoul National University
Korea Journal of Population and Development, Vol.25 No.1, pp. 155-180
The purpose of this paper is to investigate the characteristics of the structural change of the Korean environmental movement. At the end of the 1980s, the Korean environmental movement showed the following characteristics: First, the major actors changed from the victims of environmental pollution and the activists of the nationalist-democratic movements to the activists of the citizens' movements. Second, the interests of the participants moved from their own self-interest to more universal and global concerns. Third, in regard to the methods of resource mobilization, militant protest and demonstration were replaced by lobbying and appealing to public opinion. Fourth, while leftist environmentalism declined, belief in active environmental management and ecological consciousness proliferated. Fifth, the main issues diffused from the victims' right to public health, ecosystem preservation, and global environmental problem. Considering these new characteristics, the eco-Marxist interpretation of the environmental movement as a class-based or anti-capitalist movement is not correct. The issues, activists, interests, and ideologies of the New Environmental Movement in Korea are similar to the typical new social movements in Western Europe. But the methods of resource mobilization of the New Environmental Movement in Korea are different from those of the typical European new social movement, which is radical. The New Environmental Movement in Korea adopts realistic strategies and actively participates in institutional politics.
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College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학)Institute for Social Development and Policy Research (사회발전연구소)Development and SocietyKorea Journal of Population and Development Vol.25 No.1/2 (1996)
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