1st Edition

South Korean Democracy Legacy of the Gwangju Uprising

Edited By Georgy Katsiaficas, Na Kahn-chae Copyright 2006
    216 Pages 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    216 Pages 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This new book offers a retrospective appraisal of the Gwangju Uprising by academics, activists and artists from Gwangju, Korea. 

    In 1980, South Koreans took to the streets to demand democracy. When the military threatened brutal suppression of the popular movement, only in Gwangju did people refuse to submit. After horrific bloodshed, the citizens of Gwangju drove the military out of the city and held their liberated space for a week. As a "beautiful community" emerged, newspapers were published, hundreds of thousands of people congregated in popular assemblies, and the city’s life gave new meaning to democracy.
    Although crushed by overwhelming military force, Gwangju’s example inspired the eventual overthrow of the military dictatorship and ushered in a new democratic wave in East Asia. Providing a detailed analysis of the events of the Gwangju uprising, this new volume traces the birth of South Korean democracy in Gwangju’s stubborn refusal to accept life without freedom. The book also focuses on the socio-economic background, the role of women in the uprising, issues of collective identity and the international significance of the revolt.
    Scholars and researchers of South Asian politics, social movements, history, democracy and development studies will find this volume to be of keen interest.


    Georgy Katsiaficas and Na Kahn-chae

    1. Remembering the Gwangju Uprising

    Georgy Katsiaficas

    2. The Socio-Economic Background of the Gwangju Uprising

    Ahn Jean

    3. Collective Action and Organization in the Gwangju Uprising

    Na Kahn-chae

    4. Women’s Experiences in the Gwangju Uprising: Participation and Exclusion

    Kang Hyun-ah

    The Gwangju Uprising in Woodblock Prin by Hong Sung-dam

    5. The Gwangju People's Uprising and the Construction of Collective Identity: The Fighters' Bulletin

    Kim Young-khee and Han Sun

    6. The Shadow of the Gwangju Uprising in the Democratization of Korean Politics

    KimYong Cheol

    7. The Experience of the May 18th Uprising and the Communal Imagination

    Jung Keun-sik

    Photographs from the Uprising, May 18 Memorial Foundation

    8. A New Perspective on the Gwangju People’s Resistance Struggle: 1980-1997

    Na Kahn-chae

    9. Comparing the Paris Commune and the Gwangju Uprising

    Georgy Katsiaficas



    Georgy Katsiaficas is Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

    Na Kahn-chae is Professor of Sociology at Chonnam National University, Gwangju, Korea.