S-Space College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학) Institute for Social Development and Policy Research (사회발전연구소) Development and Society Development and Society Vol.44 No.1/3 (2015)
Changing Cross-movement Coalitions between Labor Unions and Civil Society Organizations in South Korea
- Lee, Byounghoon
- Issue Date
- Institute for Social Development and Policy Research, Center for Social Sciences, Seoul National University
- Development and Society, Vol.44 No.2, pp. 199-218
- In South Korea’s modern history the cross-movement relationship between labor activism/unions and civil society organizations has evolved from the resistance coalition under the developmental state (~1987), through the diverging coalitions in the post-democratization period(1988~1997), to the hollowed-out coalitions under the post-1997 neoliberal regime(from 1998 on). This case study finds that the cross-movement coalition of labor unions and civil society organizations in Korea has demonstrated distinct characteristics in its dynamics and configuration that are rarely observed in the Western advanced countries. The cross-movement relationship between unions and civil society organizations, evolving in the context of the Korean political economy, demonstrates divergent configurations of ideological lines, ranging from the radical coalition, through the progressive and the liberal ones, to the conservative one, This case study also finds that there coexist multiple union-CSO coalitions competing for public leverage, and that the incidence and intensity of cross-movement coalitions could be contradictory, as evinced by the broadening networking and lowering cohesiveness in the union-CSO coalitions in the recent period of neoliberal regime. The marginalization of labor unions in the terrain of cross-movement coalitions symbolizes the overlapped crises of internal (organized-unorganized) and external (union-CSO) solidarities, that Korean labor union movement are faced with at present.