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Special Lecture by Prof. Dr. Yun-Tae Kim (Korea University)

Special Lecture by Prof. Dr. Yun-Tae Kim

Special Lecture by Prof. Dr. Yun-Tae Kim

News vom 06.07.2011

Special Lecture Series on South Korean Politics and Society 2011

Prof. Dr. Yun-Tae Kim, who is a professor for sociology at Korea University and currently teaches at the Institute of Korean Studies (IKS) at Freie Universität Berlin (“Contemporary Korean Society”) on July 6th gave a talk on informal ties and connections in the South Korean political and business circles. His presentation started with a simple, but complex and important question as the title of his talk made clear: “Why are the Connections So Important? The Social Network and Power of the Korean Elites”. Prof. Kim explained that during the period of rapid industrialization, South Korean business elites sought to establish ruling alliances with state officials, politicians, business owners, and professional managers. These formed social coalitions to influence the state and society as a whole, and were reinforced through extensive social and political networks with various ruling groups, Prof. Kim argued. It was interesting to learn that the elite community has generated a high degree of self-recruitment and social closure through school, marriage and kinship networks. According to Prof. Kim, in this way, the leading sector of the Korean business elite (jaebeol) could form complex, often contingent, relations with the state elite, and act as an integral part of the upper class in society.

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