Political Activists and Accidental Martyrs: Politicization between Students and Workers within the South Korean Minjung Movement in the 1980's

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Political Activists and Accidental Martyrs: Politicization between Students and Workers within the South Korean Minjung Movement in the 1980's

Type: Bachelor thesis
Title: Political Activists and Accidental Martyrs: Politicization between Students and Workers within the South Korean Minjung Movement in the 1980's
Author: Serafino, Moreno B.
Issue Date: 2018-08-08
Keywords: Minjung
Labor
Students
Workers
Politicization
Mobilization
Class-consciousness
Gwangju Uprising
Activism
Abstract: Social movements often encapsulate people from multiple different social groups. While the participant of a social movement can be identified simply as such—a participant—he or she still maintains his or her own social group identity. In the South Korean case, the popular minjung movement of the 1980’s shows how social group division can be transcended by propagating an ultimate goal presented as a collective good. The minjung movement, which ultimately upheld democratization as its ultimate goal, encapsulated students and workers, among other social groups. In general, in order to make such a movement prosper, the movement’s participants should make an effort for mobilizing or politicizing the masses if they wish to influence the authoritarian ruling class. However, the fact that multiple social groups are participating presents problems. How exactly does one social group politicize the other within the same movement? Does one group take it upon itself to commandeer the movement, while other social groups are enticed to follow its lead? While members of the minjung movement shared the belief in a collective good—which in the 1980’s first and foremost was the democratization of South Korea and the abolishment of draconian rule—valiant efforts had to be made by both students and the working class in order to propagate the movement’s ideology. This thesis shows that the minjung movement did not simply uphold one leading social group that politicized all others. Instead, students and workers within the movement formed a relationship in which politicization flowed in both directions. Using Bert Klandermans’ mobilization theory, this thesis demonstrates that student activists employed action mobilization to recruit the working class, while the workers themselves unintentionally employed consensus mobilization to influence the students.
Supervisor: Green, Christopher K.
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities
Department: Korean Studies (Bachelor)
Specialisation: BA Koreastudies
ECTS Credits: 10
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/64718
 

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