Labor Movement, Environmental Movement in Regime Change in South Korea

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 10:30 AM
Room: 301
Oral Presentation
Kwang-Yeong SHIN , Chung-Ang University, Seoul, South Korea
Ju KONG , Department of Sociology, Chung-Ang University, South Korea
This paper explores the relationship between labor movement and environmental movement in South Korea, showing that the movement dynamics in South Korea which has experienced compressed political and social change is different from those in the advanced industrial democracy. Both labor movement and environmental movement are new social movements in the sense that new labor movement orgnaizations were emerged during the transition from authoritarinism to democracy and environmental movement also began to appear in the post-transition era. Thus the political dynamics has significantly affected the trajectory of both movements, contributing the formation social movement unionism in the 1990s. However, the financial crisis in 1997 made directions of two movement organizations divert from each other. Political democartization and economic crisis made the relationship between the two more independent and autonomous from each other. Democratization also gave negative impact on the development of alliance between the two because each movement had different relationship with the new democratic regime. While labor has been hostile to the democratic regime pursuing neoliberal economic reforms, environmental movement organizations has shown ambigious attitudes toward the democratic regime. The consecutive defeat of democratic political parties in the presidential elections has severely undermined the social bases of both movement in the 2000s.