Half a century since the adoption of democracy in South Korea, the Korean people’s high hopes for popular governance have not been met. There is widespread skepticism about what Korea’s implementation of democracy has brought to the nation and whether it will be able to respond effectively in the future to the demands of an evolving society and world. What accounts for the conservative complacency of Korea’s democratic system? Why do democratic administrations in Korea seem so incompetent? Do political parties in Korea legitimately represent the voice of civil society in legislating and policymaking on issues with a direct impact on the freedom and welfare of the people?
Taking an issue-oriented approach, renowned Korean political scientist Jang-Jip Choi endeavors to answer such questions as he examines the origins, structures, and conflicts of conservative democracy in South Korea as well as democratization’s impact on the state, economy, and civil society.