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  • P-ISSN0023-3900
  • E-ISSN2733-9343

Civil Society and Local Democracy

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2006, v.46 no.4, pp.62-86

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Abstract

While politics in Seoul has made great strides in democratization overthe past two decades, scholars continue to deplore that local politicsand local governance in South Korea remain a far cry from democracy.This paper addresses the intriguing question of democratic lag inSouth Korea. It argues that one of the main sources/causes of slowdemocratization at the local level lies in the underdevelopment andlack of empowerment of local civil society. The paper first introducesthe concept of democratic lag to conceptualize asymmetric democrati-zation in South Korea. Next, it describes and assesses various theoreti-cal accounts explaining the absence of local democracy and highlightsan underdeveloped civil society as a cause. The paper then submits sev-eral vignettes of the reality of local politics. After explaining why suchunderdevelopment of civil society has resulted, the paper concludeswith a set of policy prescriptions for empowering local civil society andthereby resolving the problem of democratic lag in South Korea.

keywords
local civil society local democracy democratic lag democratization democratic transition democratic consolidation decentralization civic empowermentKim Sunhyuk (Kim Seon-hyeok) is an associate professor in the Department of PublicAdministratio local civil society local democracy democratic lag democratization democratic transition democratic consolidation decentralization civic empowermentKim Sunhyuk (Kim Seon-hyeok) is an associate professor in the Department of PublicAdministratio

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