The Formation and Historical Changes of Ulsan in the Twentieth Century : Industrial City, Company Town, and Workers City

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Yoo, Hyung-Geun
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Center for Social Sciences, Seoul National University
Korean Social Sciences Review(KSSR), Vol.4 No.1, pp. 415-442
UlsanIndustrial cityCompany townworkers’ citylabor movement
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 workers 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. Ulsans 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.
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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)
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