Eun-Jeung Lee and Hannes B. Mosler. Introduction

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2 Eun-Jeung Lee and Hannes B. Mosler Introduction This book joins a long series of scholarly projects that attempt to unpack the complicated and controversial concept of civil society. Very few other political concepts have undergone more reformulations and reconfigurations than the concept of civil society. The debate that began back in ancient times, when civil society was conceptualized as societas civilis or politike koinonia, has now resurfaced in the contemporary world. The last several decades saw a resurgence of civil society discourses, particularly during and following the transformation of the Soviet-controlled Eastern European system. Against this backdrop, this volume begins with a series of questions designed to examine the concept of civil society organizations in all of its facets. What is and is not civil society? Which kind of components does civil society encompass? Are civil society organizations distinctive new phenomena, or do they merely reflect a repackaged form of more familiar organizations? To what extent is the boundary of civil society demarcated within the democratic political system? What kind of role can or should civil society organizations play within the democratic system? In what specific ways can civil society organizations impact the political principles of community, citizenship, social structure, the rulers and the ruled, authority, justice, and change, among others? Should entities such as transnational advocacy networks be considered part of any conventional democratic system at all? If not, do we need to expand upon, if not entirely re-imagine, our current theories on democratic politics and the state? What kind of interests do civil society organizations represent? What interactions or modes of action should civil society organizations adopt in order to achieve optimal outcomes in relation their stated objectives? What kinds of institutions are necessary in order for civil society organizations to function in a way to contributing to the public good? Workshops on civil society With these questions in mind, the Institute of Korean Studies at Freie Universität Berlin organized three workshops to consider civil society within

3 8 Eun-Jeung Lee and Hannes B. Mosler the democratic system and, above all, map out the politicity of civil society from a new theoretical perspective. The first workshop was held in May 2009 under the title Challenges for Korean Civil Society after Democratic Transformation Experiences of the Post-Socialist Countries in Eastern Europe and Reunified Germany. The second workshop, held in June 2010, went under the title Location and Function of Civil Society within Democratic Systems, while the third workshop in June 2011 was entitled Actors of Civil Society: Student Movement and Civil Society. The first two workshops were an attempt to explore the possibility of new approaches for the study of Korean civil society and democracy by combining interdisciplinary and transregional research, thereby making a direct contribution to the field of democracy after democratization. In South Korea as well as countries in Eastern Europe, civil society was the driving force in the struggle against authoritarian regimes. The important role that civil society played in the transformation process has been a constant topic of academic discussion since the 1987 democratization of South Korea and the collapse of Eastern Europe s socialist block. However, the fact that civil society is itself influenced by the democratization and undergoes its own changes has not yet received much attention. This leaves many important questions unanswered: What role does South Korean civil society play in democratic consolidation after the democratic transformation process? If one assumes that civil society is expected to play a different role than in the resistance movement against authoritarian regimes, how and to what extent do civil societies in South Korea and Eastern Europe meet these expectations? On one hand, civil societies in South Korea and Eastern Europe, as well as in reunified Germany, share the experience of being latecomers to democratization. On the other hand, South Korean civil society has not yet confronted the task of system transformation, unlike those of Eastern Europe and Germany. From the viewpoint of both North and South Korea, the experiences of Eastern European countries and reunified Germany are of special importance. The third workshop focused on the actors of civil society, especially students and their movement in South Korea and Germany. Without a doubt, students played a decisive role in fighting against authoritarianism and dictatorship during the qualitative transformation of civil society the generation of 1968 in Europe and the so-called 386-generation in South

4 Introduction 9 Korea. The most important impact of the students on European society in the 1970s and South Korea in 1987 was that they established a basis for civil society to become popularized. In this way, the student movements of Germany/Europe and South Korea became the roots of other civil movements. The aim of this workshop was to examine the student movements as a critical moment of development in civil society and to compare their impacts in Germany and South Korea. This study, therefore, was not limited to just the political influence of the student movements, but encompassed the broader social and everyday aspects of life. This workshop scrutinized the makeup and processes of the student movements occurring in the two divided nations, Germany and Korea, and considered what long-term impacts they may have (or will have) on unification. Moreover, it dealt with the issue of how student movements were conducted in times of globalization, and what role the main actors of 1968 and 1987 play in today s civil societies. The ultimate question of this workshop was: Why was it the students? What was the actual power of specific student movements in specific places that cannot simply be explained by a more general attribute: the spirit of an ambitious youth? Outline of the volume This book is based on the contributions to the three Berlin workshops described above and is divided into three chapters dealing with challenges, functions, and influences of civil society. In the first chapter, Walter Reese-Schäfer (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen) analyzes the development of civil society in Western and Eastern Europe as well as in the Arab cultural region from a political theory perspective. While the existence of civil society does not guarantee democracy, it is difficult for a new democracy to form in places where civil society has not matured at all. Reese-Schäfer puts forward this key contention with valuable insight and in doing so identifies an important avenue for future research in regard to the interrelationship of civil society and democracy. Hyo-Che Cho (Sungkonghoe University) does this in his essay on democracy and civil society after democratization in South Korea. He analyses the structure and characteristics of Korean civil society and sheds light on its assumed role of productive critic in the democratized political system. His contention is

5 10 Eun-Jeung Lee and Hannes B. Mosler that there are basic differences between the role of civil society before and after democratization. The most significant of these is of the fragmentation of civil society after democratization. This is true not only for Korea, but also for many other countries in Eastern Europe especially those that subsequently experienced regime change. In that sense, the analysis of the interrelationship between Korean civil society and democratization will provide useful insights for the role of civil society in other states experiencing regime change. George Katsiaficas (Chonnam National University) in his analysis sheds light on students movements and civil society from a global perspective. He emphasizes the fact that after the 1968 student movements, which were based on the common right to self-determination and international solidarity, ordinary people organized themselves in civil society movements all over the world leading to global resistance movements. Katsiaficas analyzes the arms reduction movement in the 80s, resistance movements in Asia in the 90s, resistance movements in 1989/90 in Eastern Europe, anti-war movements in 2003, and the Arab Spring and Occupy Movement in 2011 as a global development of resistance movements with roots in the earlier student movements. In chapter two, Jin-Wook Shin (Chung-Ang University) analyses the ideological fragmentation process of Korean civil society after democratization. The division of civil society after democratization between conservatives and progressives was not a new phenomenon. During the authoritarian regimes, not all civil society organizations participated in the movement towards democratization, with various right-wing civil society organizations in fact supporting authoritarian rule. Dieter Segert (Universität Wien) analyses the function of civil society in Eastern European countries that experienced a crisis of representative democracy even after regime change. In Korea and many Eastern European countries, civil society organizations were the main force behind the collapse of the socialist regimes. After the initial regime change, however, civil society did not always play a positive role in the process of democratic consolidation. Segert sees the obsolete social welfare system as the main reason for this phenomenon. Il-Pyo Hong (MP Secretary, Korean National Assembly) analyzes the efforts of Korean civil society organizations to establish think tanks after democratization. He emphasizes that beyond their role of critical surveillance, such think tanks were able to systematically develop policy

6 Introduction 11 alternatives and actively participate in policy building processes with government authorities and political parties. The contributions in chapter three analyze the influence of student movements in Korea and Germany that are symbolized by the numbers of the years 1987 and 1968 from the perspective of activists present at the time. Klaus Meschkat (Leibniz Universität Hannover) and Yun Tae Kim (Korea University) were themselves part of the movements in their respective countries. Both authors reflect on their activities from a long temporal distance and assess how student movements have influenced society and politics. Similarly, Axel Rüdiger (Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg), who lived in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), analyzes the influence that West German student movement had on East German society. With these diverse analyses on Korean and German student movements, we are able to gain some concrete and systematic insight into their integration within institutionalized politics as well as their political and social impact. As much as they begin to offer some answers, however, these contributions also raise other, often broader, questions. For instance, why and how did the German student movement contribute to societal democratization and why was the Korean student movement little more than a relatively short-lived phenomenon? To what extent can these differences be explained in terms of cultural differences? Some may try to establish a direct relationship between the traditional Confucian culture and the active role of the students as critical intellectuals. Yet, even when one accepts that students in Korea acted out of this tradition-bound prescription to criticize unjust and unethical behavior, this cannot have been the sole determinant of their behavior. Depending on the specificities of the historical, social and political situation, any number of causalities can exist. In that sense it is important to decipher the particular cultural and religious subtexts of the student movements in Europe, South Korea, and the more recent uprisings in North Africa and the Near East. Our aim with this book is to examine the development of civil society in Korea, Germany, and Eastern Europe from different angles, and thereby contribute to the consideration of the role of civil society today and in the future. In order to do so we concentrated on shedding light on the role of civil society, its status, and its political characteristic in

7 12 Eun-Jeung Lee and Hannes B. Mosler recently-democratized political systems. Our research on comparing civil society in Korea, Germany, and Eastern Europe has just begun and is ongoing. Acknowledgements This book could not have been written without the help of many people and institutions. We extend our gratitude to them all. In particular, we are grateful to the Academy of Korean Studies (AKS) 1 and the Korea Democracy Foundation for without their support neither the conference nor this publication would have been possible. Next to the contributors of this volume we also value the helpful comments made by other conference participants who served as chairs, presenters, and discussants; they are Sei-Ung Ham (Seoul), Keun-Sik Jung (Seoul), Dorothée de Nève (Hagen), Inga Beinke (Halle), Eva Maria Hinterhuber (Frankfurt O.), Werner Pfennig (Berlin), Claudia Matthes (Berlin), Samuel Lee (Seoul), Jong-Lai You (Seoul), Urs Müller-Plantenberg (Berlin), and Chun-Seung Yang (Seoul). Last but not least, we gratefully acknowledge the very challenging and demanding work of copy editing this volume by Paul Talcott and Hiji Nam. Dahlem, February 6, AKS Overseas Leading University Program for Korean Studies, AKS MA-1001.

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