This controversial new study, breaks with the tradition of basing political studies on analyses of institutions and political personalities, by likening the Republic of Korea to a laboratory for the clash of political cultures. In the late 1940s, the Americans embarked upon a democratization programme designed to create a Western bulwark against the spread of communism in East Asia. The intervening years have seen the advent and demise of military rule, with South Korea now having a democratically-elected government. Although the US strategy thus seems successful, the political crises of 1995 in fact indicate that many obstacles remain here to the adoption of Western-style democracy.
This study argues that socialization in general and political socialization in particular are key factors in any analysis of democracy, be it in Korea or elsewhere. Accordingly, the work draws on moral education textbooks, together with surveys and interviews among members of the urban intellectual elite. In this manner, the psychological roots of power and authority - key concepts to an understanding of 'good government' - are explored.
'This impressive book is an excellent point of departure and is highly recommended to serious students of contemporary Korean politics and society.' - Jae-Sung Kwak, Democratization