The Deterioration of South Korean Democracy
This chapter evaluates the current state of democracy in the Republic of Korea. Korean democratic development is acknowledged as one of the most successful cases of the third wave of democracy, recently passing the crucial two-turnover test, as well as experiencing rapid economic development. While not rejecting such assumptions, this chapter argues they are biased in their top-down evaluations, almost exclusively of formal institutions. This study takes an opposing bottom-up view on the quality of formal institutions and their actual effects on democracy. To do this, the analysis focuses on four major areas where democratic quality is most saliently challenged: representation (interest advocacy), administration (governance capabilities), integration (social capital and welfare), and participation (civil liberties).