Publication Type

Journal Article

Version

Postprint

Publication Date

3-2012

Abstract

Recent studies on causes of intergovernmental transformation in old and new democracies have found that decentralization is often the outcome of negotiations between national and local political interests. South Korea is commonly believed to be an exception because local elections and institutions introduced in the early 1990s were, by and large, the product of negotiations among political elites at the centre, without significant inclusion of local actors. However, this article attempts to explicate a hitherto ignored aspect of decentralization reform in Korea: the role of civil society and local activism in the politics of decentralization. In the 2000s, several ‘triggering events’ such as economic instability, democratic consolidation, emergence of civilian leaders, and the growth of civil society provided a strong momentum for the decentralization movement. We demonstrate how civic organizations at both national and local levels have played significant roles in proposing and pushing for decentralization, and argue that the bottom-up movement for decentralization under the Roh Moo-hyun administration was surprisingly well mobilized and institutionalized, especially at the agenda-setting stage.

Keywords

civil society, decentralization, local democracy, South Korea, democratization

Discipline

Asian Studies | Political Science

Research Areas

Political Science

Publication

Democratization

Volume

20

Issue

2

First Page

260

Last Page

286

ISSN

1351-0347

Identifier

10.1080/13510347.2011.650913

Publisher

Taylor and Francis

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13510347.2011.650913

Share

COinS