Over the past fifteen years, South Korea has transformed itself from an authoritarian government into a new democracy with a vibrant capitalist economy. Modernization, democratization, and globalization have played important roles in this transformation, and have greatly influenced the programs and policies of Korea's Sixth Republic. Covering developments through the 2003 elections, this book shows how the South Korean government and society have been shaped not only by the dynamics of these forces, but also by their interaction with the cultural norms of a post-Confucian society. The author provides a conceptual framework and baseline for examining political developments in Korea, and offers an analysis of the factors that are transforming Korean institutions, society, and politics. He discusses the forces shaping Korea's political economy and the performance of successive ROK governments, and also highlights the challenges faced by the newly elected administration of Roh Moo Huan, the North Korean issue, and more.
1. Introduction: Ideas Matter in Korean Politics; 2. Taking Culture Seriously: Confucian Tradition and Modernization; 3. Democratization by Launching the Sixth Republic of Korea (ROK); 4. "Reform Half-Way Down?": Cultural Context of Democratic Consolidation; 5. Responses to Globalization: Sustaining Democracy through Economic Reform; 6. Global Political Economy and the Korean State; 7. Foreign Policy and Democracy: From Nordpolitik to Engagement; 8. New Democracy for Korean Society and Politics; 9. Transforming Korean Politics?: Conclusion