S-Space College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학) Center for Social Sciences (사회과학연구원) Korean Social Sciences Review (KSSR) Korean Social Sciences Review (KSSR) Vol.04, No.01/02 (2014)
The Formation and Historical Changes of Ulsan in the Twentieth Century : Industrial City, Company Town, and Workers’ City
- Yoo, Hyung-Geun
- Issue Date
- Korean Social Sciences Review(KSSR), Vol.4 No.1, pp. 415-442
- Translated from the article published in Society and History vol. 95 (2012), with
permission from the Korean Social History Association.
- The purpose of this paper is to highlight the formation and the historical changes of Ulsan in the twentieth century with “industrial city, company town and workers’ city” as its keywords. The modernized Ulsan began with the idea by Japanese businessmen during Japanese colonial rule in the late 1930s and it was selected as a planned “industrial” city in the Economic Development Plan by the military regime in the 1960s. Ulsan was developing as a newly emerged industrial city and a huge change occurred when the sizable investment
from Hyundai Group began to flow in the 1970s. This provided an opportunity for the city to really look like an “industrial City” with the nickname of “Hyundai City.” However, the local community governance of Ulsan remained perfunctory. It was the worker’s fight and the consequential democratization of labor-management relations that brought the new regional governance. As a result, Ulsan was given a new identity, “Workers’ City.” However, the fulltime employees of conglomerates moved up the ladder from the outsider of “Hyundai City” to its internal members; and they became a part of the corporate community. This strengthened the conglomerate hegemony which ruled “Hyundai City.” The division of labor and corporate hegemony strengthened each other. Ulsan’s identity as a workers’ derived from the challenge and resistance toward the identity of government-led industrial city and corporate-ruled company town; however, the once existed political potential is dissipating due to the divide in the labor force.