Is Korean Democracy in Crisis?

Via Zoom

In recent years, we have witnessed a worldwide trend of "democratic depression" in both young and established democracies, where the backsliding from democracy is facilitated by various forces such as populism, nationalism, partisan polarization, and post-truth. Korea is no exception. While the signs of democratic decline are subtle and disguised under the rule of law, they are producing piecemeal erosions of liberal democracy and pluralism in many corners of the Korean society. As a timely warning against the gradual decline of democratic norms and values, this 3-part conference seeks to examine the forces that endanger the Korean democracy and aims to offer some concrete policy prescriptions to remedy the existing and growing signs of democratic decline.

Topics Discussed:

Day 1: November 12, 2020 (4PM-7PM)

  • Political culture and polarization: Pitfall of political over-participation or “street-democracy"
  • Underdevelopment of party politics: Factionalism, weak institutionalization, and poor appreciation
  • Erosion in balance of power: Courts losing legitimacy and respect with politicization
  • Uses and misuses of nationalism in politics

Day 2: November 13, 2020 (4PM-6PM)

  • Two divergences in South Korea’s Economy: Regional and generational disparities
  • Challenges of post-truth: Politicization and polarization of the press, social media, disinformation
  • Education and its impact on civic value and generational gap

Day 3: November 19, 2020 (4PM-6:15PM)

  • Politicization of civil society: Losing function as watchdog of power, former democratic activists becoming new authoritarian leaders
  • How the rise of populist regime affects foreign policy
  • Korean democracy in comparative perspectives

The conference papers will be published as an edited volume.