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Insight into Korea Series Vol. 2: Social Change in Korea
Price per Unit (piece): KRW 20,000
USD 15.17
Author: Kim Kyong-dong, The Korea Herald
Publisher: Jimoondang
Pub. Date: Apr. 2008
Pages: 328
Cover: Softcover
Dimensions (in inches): 8.86 x 6.73 x 0.55
ISBN: 9788988095287
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[Insight Into Korea 2]

Social Change in Korea represents the first collective attempt by a group of Korean sociologists to author a book on contemporary Korean society by putting together essays addressing a wide array of sociological themes. 
The book collects a total of 30 essays, all published in The Korea Herald, an English-language newspaper based in Seoul, between October 2007 and January 2008. The paper invited the nation’s leading sociology professors to write on the deep and far-reaching changes that Korean society experienced since 1987, the year when the country’s “third wave of democratization” began.
The essays in the book, says co-editor Kim Kyong-dong, cover almost all the important spheres of social life, touching upon most of the significant aspects of social change in Korea over the years, especially during the past two decades. “They are not strictly scholarly articles. But every piece does approach the subject matter from a serious theoretical perspective and a sharp analytical eye,” says Kim, honorary professor of the Sociology Department of Seoul National University. “So, this can be a very useful complementary textbook for any course taught in English which deals with social change in Korea, as well as being a quick but comprehensive introduction for the more casual but curious reader.”
The central theme of the book, says Yu Kun-ha, managing editor of The Korea Herald, can be summed up by this question: Where is Korean society headed? During the past two decades, Korea has made significant progress in democratization, globalization and the transition to a post-industrial economy. Yet, despite all the advances, Korea still faces many tough challenges in its evolution toward a fully democratized and global country with mature welfare systems. Korea not only lacks key institutions which are essential to full-fledged liberal democracies, but it retains an affinity for traditional Confucian values. “This seems to be the assessment of Korea offered by many of the authors in this book. Consequently, they give us a mixed picture regarding Korea’s prospects,” says Yu. “The Korean professors’ less-than-sanguine perspectives on the future of Korean society appear to echo the observation shared by foreign experts on Korea ― namely, that Korean scholars tend to emphasize problems rather than achievements.”
The book consists of eight chapters. Part I offers two overview essays which introduce social change in Korea through a thematic approach. Part II deals with the demographic and ecological bases of social life, with essays on the population revolution, urbanization, rural communities and environmental pollution. Part III covers the cultural landscape in terms of changing values, ideological confusion, lifestyles, and multiculturalism. Part IV focuses on the changing patterns of social organization, highlighting such traditional principles of organization as collectivism, authoritarianism, and personal connections. Part V sheds light on recent changes regarding marriage, the family, and women in society. Part VI has eight essays on groups and institutions related to civic organizations, labor relations, political participation, education, religion, welfare, and crime. Part VII is devoted to the structural aspects of change, with respect to the occupational and class structures, social mobility, and poverty. Finally, Part VIII looks toward the future by raising the issue of national identity in the age of globalization. 
Social Change in Korea is the second volume in a series of books that The Korea Herald plans to publish under the title of “Insight into Korea.” The book project is aimed at analyzing the transformation of Korean society since the June civilian uprising in 1987, a watershed in contemporary Korean history. The first volume was published in December 2007 while the third one, focused on political change in Korea, is scheduled to come out in the first half of 2008.


1. Overview
Social change in Korea: A bird's-eye view
The main driving forces behind social change

2. Demographic and Ecological Base
Two waves in Korea's population revolution
Seoul: A magnet for power, wealth, and population
Changing rural communities
Climate change tests Korea's adaptability

3. Cultural Landscape
Changing values cause ideological confusion
The semiotics of cars: We are what we drive
Korea moving toward a multicultural society

4. Principles of Social Organization
Collectivism vs. individualism
Korean society caught in post-authoritarianism trap
Personal ties still important, but patterns changing

5. Marriage, Family and Women in Society
Family values changing─but still conservative
Changing family and women in the ubiquitous age
More gender equality, but women still held back
Dual earners call for family-friendly society
Homophobia and the snail family in Korea

6. Groups, Organizations and Institutions
Nation witnesses upsurge of civil organizations
Transparency key to improving social cohesion
Labor market polarization damages social cohesion
Changing face of political participation in the era of democratization
The political economy of educational reform
Korean religions struggling to be born again
Koreans worry about insecure lives, uncertain futures
The causes of Korea's burgeoning crime rate

7. Social Stratification and Mobility
Women's labor participation grows─slowly
The odyssey of the middle class
Is Korea's social mobility fluid or locked?
Inequality persists despite economic success

8. Quo Vadis Korea?
National identity in the age of globalization


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