Social Risks and Class Identification after the Financial Crisis in Korea

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Nam, Eun Young

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Institute for Social Development and Policy Research, Center for Social Sciences, Seoul National University
Development and Society, Vol.42 No.2, pp. 237-262
Social RiskMiddle Class IdentificationSelf-ranked Social StratumEconomic CrisisUnemployment and Job instability
This study examines the experiences of social risks such as unemployment, decrease in income, decrease in property, weakening family bonds, deterioration of health and their effects on middle class identification, and self-identified social stratification during the Korean financial crisis. The financial crisis in 1997 fundamentally transformed the density of the middle class and middle class identification declined rapidly in Korea. This study has found that unemployment was the strongest factor to significantly reduce middle class identification. The association between social risks and self-ranked social stratum also reveal the negative impact of economic crisis. Social risks such as unemployment and the deterioration of health around the economic crisis turned out to be significant factors in Koreans lowering their own social stratum ten years after economic crisis. Job instability also had a lasting impact on being ranking themselves lower on the social stratum. This study concludes that after the economic crisis, employment, job stability and physical health conditions are significant factors to affect sustaining or elevating middle class identification and how Koreans rank their own social status.
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College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학)Institute for Social Development and Policy Research (사회발전연구소)Development and Society Development and Society Vol.42 No.1/2 (2013)
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