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Contentious Activism and Inter-Korean Relations$
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Danielle Chubb

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231161367

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231161367.001.0001

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South Korea in Transition, 1987–1997

South Korea in Transition, 1987–1997

(p.119) 4 South Korea in Transition, 1987–1997
Contentious Activism and Inter-Korean Relations

Danielle L. Chubb

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses South Korean political activism in the years leading up to the North Korean famine. It considers the process through which the radical ideas held by dissident activists leading up to the 1987 uprising were marginalized. Most former activists who sought to continue their nongovernmental, political careers through the 1990s and into the 2000s transitioned into a set of civil society organizations that focused on a new series of concerns more relevant to a democratizing South Korea. A breakaway group of activists also turned their backs on their radical left-wing agendas and championed a North Korean human rights agenda that has remained largely on the fringes of mainstream discourse in South Korea to this day. The chapter first outlines the dominant discourses against which political activists aligned themselves. The state’s attitude toward North Korea and issues of unification, human rights, and democracy is extrapolated here, drawing on key speeches made by Presidents Roh Tae Woo (1998–1992) and Kim Young Sam (1992–1997).

Keywords:   South Korea, North Korea, famine, political activism, inter-Korean relations, human rights, unification, democracy, civil society organizations

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