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Palgrave Macmillan

The Korean Economic Developmental Path

Confucian Tradition, Affective Network

ISBN 9781137359728
Publication Date December 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

This book traces back the origins of Korean development from the cultural and moral dimension, and argues that the source of weakened autonomy and capacity of the state after the 1997 crisis also should be traced from the loss of fundamental ethos. It elucidates the positive effect of cultural inheritance that has been most blamed in the earlier studies as hampering economic growth and democratization of Korean society: Confucianism, affective networks, and state intervention. As such institutional characteristics have undeniably formed the historical path of Korean development, the future of Korean development cannot also be alienated from this path.

Seok-Choon Lew is a professor of sociology and the director of Syngman Rhee Institute at Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea. He has earned his PhD in sociology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA, in 1986. His areas of expertise are sociology of development, economic sociology, and Southeast Asian studies. He has served on editorial boards of Korean Sociological Review (in Korean) and Journal of Southeast Asian Studies (in Korean). He has been a visiting scholar at Oxford University (1993), Doshisha University in Kyoto (1999), University of the Philippines (2002), Australian National University (2009), and University of California, San Diego (2009). Recently, he has written extensively on 'affective networks' and 'developmental states' in East Asia. Please visit http://sclew.yonsei.ac.kr for more information on his publications and career.

1. Missing Links in Understanding the Korean Developmental Model
2. Confucian Ethics and the Spirit of Capitalism in Korea: The Significance of Filial Piety
3. Affective Networks, Social Capital, and Modernity in Korea
4. Historical Development of Affective Networks in Korea: The Non-governmental Sector and Confucian Tradition
5. Confucian Capitalism of Park Chung Hee: Possibilities and Limits
6. Generalized Reciprocity between Strong State and Strong Society: Park Chung Hee and the Korean Developmental Path
7. Did the 1997 Financial Crisis Transform the S. Korean Developmental State? Focused on the Public Fund
8. Moral Economy
References in English Language
References in Korean Language


"This is a provocative addition to the literature, by a sociologist, who finds a big gap in existing models of economic development. Taking a fresh look at the concept of social capital, Lew supplements the dichotomy of state-civil society with that of strong state-strong society, based on affective networks, including blood relations, school ties, and localism. He points to 'disciplinary ethos' as a means for keeping the state from being captured by special interests. Concentrating on the example of Korea and on its Confucian traditions, Lew puts culture at center stage in presenting a novel take on how the social sciences should interpret the phenomenal record of East Asian development, arguing that globalization is not incompatible with a strong state and a society still steeped in bonds many thought were unsuitable to our era." - Gilbert Rozman, Emeritus Musgrave Professor of Sociology, Princeton University, USA, and Editor-in-chief, The Asan Forum
"This project will regenerate much interest among students of East Asian patterns of development at large...A proper understanding of the yongo kwan'gye is a key to understanding not only contemporary Korean society, but also its people and the foundation of their social networking which Lew refers to as 'affective networks.' This is a fine contribution to studies of Confucian capitalism and in particular, strong state-strong society relations, in the context of Korea." - Hyung-A Kim, Associate Professor, Australian National University
"The book's culture-oriented narrative is fascinating, alluring, and even intuitive. It takes us back to those questions of economic development about which the Nobel laureate Robert Lucas famously stated, 'Once one starts to think about them, it is hard to think about anything else.' Strikingly, in that same quote, Lucas asks, 'If not [economic policies], what is it about the "nature of India" that makes it so [stagnant]?' Indeed, why Korea and not India? The book shows us where the answer may lie: each country's unique cultural and historical context from which they must 'find their own recipes' (p. 181) for successful development.Regarding readership, [...] budding students of modern Korea [...] would likely find this book highly readable and insightful. [...] This book should also be instructive for those economists and political economists exploring new avenues of research, such as culture, in economic growth and development." Taejoon Han, The Journal of Asian Studies
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