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2022 | Book

Transformative Citizenship in South Korea

Politics of Transformative Contributory Rights

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About this book

South Korea’s postcolonial history has been replete with dramatic societal transformations through which it has emerged with a fully blown modernity, or compressed modernity. There have arisen the transformation-oriented state, society, and citizenry for which each transformation becomes an ultimate purpose in itself, its processes and means constitute the main sociopolitical order, and the transformation-embedded interests form the core social identity. A distinct mode of citizenship has thereby arisen as transformative contributory rights, namely, effective or legitimate claims to national and social resources, opportunities, and respects that accrue to each citizen’s contributions to the nation’s or society’s collective transformative goals. South Koreans have been exhorted or have exhorted themselves to intensely engage in such collective transformations, so that their citizenship is framed and substantiated by the conditions, processes, and outcomes of such transformative engagements. This book concretely and systematically analyzes how this transformative dynamic has shaped South Koreans’ developmental, social, educational, reproductive, and cultural citizenship.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Historico-Political Contours of Citizenship

Frontmatter
Chapter 1. Introduction: Transformative Citizenship in Perspective
Abstract
Under South Korea’s dramatic societal transformations in compressed modernity, there have arisen the transformation-oriented state, society, and citizenry for which each transformation becomes an ultimate purpose in itself, its processes and means constitute the main sociopolitical order, and the transformation-embedded interests form the core social identity. A distinct mode of citizenship has thereby arisen in terms of transformative contributory rights. Citizenship as transformative contributory rights is defined as effective or legitimate claims to national and social resources, opportunities, and respects that accrue to each citizen’s contributions to the nation’s or society’s collective transformative goals. South Koreans have been exhorted or have exhorted themselves to intensely engage in each of such transformations, so that their citizenship has been framed and substantiated by the conditions, processes, and outcomes of such collective transformative engagements.
Kyung-Sup Chang
Chapter 2. State-Society Relations and Citizenship Regimes in East Asia
Abstract
This chapter overviews the individual dynamics of state-civil society relations in Japan, South Korea, and China, comparatively assesses the historico-political effects of such relationships on each country’s citizenship regime, and discusses major theoretical and/or analytical issues of citizenship politics particularly characteristic of East Asian countries. Wide diversities in East Asian civil societies’ basic characteristics and relationship with the respective states have critical direct ramifications for the history and politics of citizenship in each country. Modernization in East Asia, as elsewhere, has been a simultaneous process of social and economic restructuring and nation-state (re)formation, so that civil society (often as communal formations) and the state in each country have intricately interacted over the allegiance of individual citizens.
Kyung-Sup Chang
Chapter 3. Political Citizenship Without Democratic Social Representation
Abstract
In South Korea’s sociopolitical modernization, there has been a systematic dislocation among the main societal spheres of modernity—that is, among civil society, industrial class structure, and democratic polity. Democratic in “form” only, the formal political domain has almost completely ruled out organized labor despite its apparent presence as a strong social force (and the demographic preponderance of the urban working population), whereas unions and union-based parties have been unable to deal with this incongruous situation very effectively. The chronic limit of the nation’s (demographically) largest social class in effective democratic representation in formal institutional politics, particularly in the heavily state-centered system of socioeconomic governance, has systematically disadvantaged them in the process of capitalist economic development and industrial restructuring. In fact, this dilemma of empty political citizenship has been nearly universal to all grassroots social classes in civil society, and thereby structurally hindered the nation’s Marshallian evolution in citizenship politics.
Kyung-Sup Chang

Citizenship as Transformative Contributory Rights

Frontmatter
Chapter 4. Developmental Citizenship and Its Discontents
Abstract
This chapter explains how developmental citizenship in South Korea has been conceived, protracted, and habitually renewed amid the dynamic interplay between political democratization and capitalist economic development, and also analyzes what social practices have constituted such historical constructions and reconstructions of developmental citizenship. The primacy of developmental citizenship does not necessarily preclude a political commitment to social citizenship, but the former at least tends to delay the latter for the sake of maximum national economic growth, epitomized by the political slogan of “growth first, distribution later”. Besides, the political pursuit of national economic development has often been accompanied by a self-serving emphasis of the state leadership on political stability, often implying serious infringements on civil and political rights.
Kyung-Sup Chang
Chapter 5. Social Citizenship Between Developmental Liberalism and Neoliberalism
Abstract
The successive developmentalist administrations suppressed grassroots demands and rights concerning social citizenship and exhausted public resources to finance industrial projects and corporate assistance. In its institutional form, South Korea’s modernization in social policy was modeled after the Continental European “conservative” welfare state. This model, as represented by the inclusionary social insurance programs of Bismarck’s Germany, had been devised in order to effectively organize society—the working class in particular—toward a politically concerted path of national capitalist development. A sort of hierarchical or segmented social citizenship has been characterizing the working population’s fate under an exclusionary application of the Continental model of social welfare. In the early 1990s, anti-welfarist Western neoliberalism was accommodated exactly at a time various social policy measures were required to stabilize risky social conditions hitherto accumulated. The tenaciously developmentalist state equated neoliberal reform with globalization to silence critical voices for social democratic reform.
Kyung-Sup Chang
Chapter 6. Education as Citizenship, or Citizenship by Education
Abstract
South Koreans’ citizenship in the nation’s social institutional order, economic development, cultural life, and democratic politics has been decisively facilitated and shaped by their participation, competition, and struggle in public education. South Koreans’ educational fervor has both bolstered and been intensified by these societal transformations. In citizenship terms, education has critically enabled South Koreans to march into modern institutional, developmental, political, and scientific/cultural citizenship. In a great paradox, however, South Koreans’ access to education itself has remained quite dubious as a citizenship right. The virtual universalization of tertiary education at colleges and universities came about under the private payment of tuitions and other school expenses. Most adolescents attain college/university diplomas not as a citizenship right but as a parental gift. Under the recently worsening economic inequalities, such parentally buttressed high education is increasingly unsustainable and tends to distort public education into an exclusionary class affair.
Kyung-Sup Chang
Chapter 7. Reproductive Contributory Rights: From Patriarchal to Patriotic Fertility?
Abstract
South Korea’s demographic restructuring has been no less radical than its socioeconomic transformations. Individual behaviors and familial choices determining demographic parameters such as marriage, fertility, and migration have closely reflected South Koreans’ intense desire and active effort to participate in their nation’s literally explosive development and modernization on all fronts. In a sense, the full realization of their citizenship rights has been conditioned upon their active demographic behaviors attuned to the qualifications for and opportunities from such progresses. However, the latest neoliberal era of massive socioeconomic disenfranchisement has been accompanied by radical changes in demographic indicators, including the arguably world’s lowest fertility rate worrying the entire nation. The politically insinuated patriotism in young citizens’ marriage and parenthood seems to have been rather counterproductive because of a feeling that their fundamental individual(ist) rights to marriage and parenthood, as well as their possible children’s future, are arbitrarily subjugated to the state’s unreservedly professed technocratic necessities.
Kyung-Sup Chang
Chapter 8. Ad Hoc Cultural Citizenship: Neotraditional to Multicultural (Non)transition
Abstract
Under South Korea’s excessively urban-centered development and patriarchal rural family life, most rural young women have moved to cities, leaving villages devoid of women in marriageable ages. As many rural bachelors, besides many poor urban men, have begun to marry foreign brides since the mid-2000s, the state and society have collaboratively invented an ad hoc cultural citizenship of “multiculturalism”. Such citizenship has is conferred on foreign brides with various paternalistic assistances under the loud welcoming of their home-country cultural traits. Paradoxically, the notion of multicultural citizenship more hides than reveals most foreign brides’ everyday conditions of life and work in rural families. Foreign brides usually live far more Korean (neo)traditional types of rural family life than native Korean women residing mostly in cities. What has been mobilized is not so much their cultural attributes as the material instrumentalities of their gender as women in coping with the wide meltdown of rural families’ social reproduction.
Kyung-Sup Chang
Chapter 9. Risk Citizenship in Complex Risk Society
Abstract
The particular manners and intensities of South Korea’s compressed economic development and social change have engendered a risk society with correspondingly particular risk characteristics. South Korea can be characterized as a complex risk society in which various risk factors and symptoms of developed, un(der)developed, slapdash, and compressive societies are present simultaneously and interactively. It is thus necessary to adopt the notion or concept of risk citizenship and elaborate on its practical (and possibly theoretical) characteristics in sociopolitical and other domains if we are to understand the unique (but perhaps not unprecedented) nature of such risk-accommodative political economy. Where risks are perceived, diagnosed, commanded, praised, and rewarded in terms of their probable or supposed transformative contributory quality, they cannot simply be prevented, avoided, minimized, or hedged in personal, familial, communal, industrial, and governmental activities. Where whatever transformative contributory risks are detected or promoted, we should explore their citizenship implications.
Kyung-Sup Chang

Whither Post-Transformative Citizenship

Frontmatter
Chapter 10. Transformative Citizenship, Transformative Victimhood
Abstract
By early twenty-first century, it has painfully turned out that the citizenship regime of transformative contributory rights has a fatal side-effect of structurally and abruptly engendering transformative victims, in numbers and extents that are no less conspicuous than those for transformative beneficiaries. There have been structural victims not only inherent in the substantive nature of each transformation (e.g., traditionalists and nativists in West-dependent modernization, peasants in capitalist industrialization, and local interests and communal agents in neoliberal globalization) but also embedded in the impulsive, excessive, and violent manners of pursuing the transformations. In fact, given the unevenly developmental and selectively democratic nature of South Korea’s postcolonial capitalist modernization, virtually every category of transformative citizenship has been accompanied by the transformative victimhood of certain social groups.
Kyung-Sup Chang
Backmatter
Metadata
Title
Transformative Citizenship in South Korea
Author
Chang Kyung-Sup
Copyright Year
2022
Electronic ISBN
978-3-030-87690-6
Print ISBN
978-3-030-87689-0
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-87690-6

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