Public Lecture on Pro-Democracy Movements in South Korea

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On 6 October, Thursday, 2.15–3.45 p.m, the visiting lecturer Dr. Hyun Jeong-im from Sogang University (Seoul, South Korea) will deliver public lecture "The third way of doing politics: Pro-democracy movements in South Korea from 1960s to nowadays". The lecture will be held at the History Hall of the Rector’s Office (K. Donelaičio 58).

Behind the shining economic success story of South Korea, the Korean people have stories of the long and painful but successful struggle for democracy. Through this lecture, Dr. Hyun will present a passionate history of the social movements in South Korea, especially the pro-democracy movements against the military authoritarian regime since 1960s to 1987, and the consolidation of democracy in these days.

“Speaking about ‘politics’ nowadays is ‘boring’, ‘uninteresting’ and definitely ‘not-cool’, especially for the young people. Indeed, speaking about the ‘old’ politicians is the worst subject to talk about. That’s why I choose social movement as my lecture’s subject. Why social movements? Because they are very complex, powerful, and at the same time fragile, emotional social phenomena. Why powerful? Because the actors in the conventional political field cannot make a ‘real’ change while the social movements can. That’s why we call social movement as the third way of politics.”, Dr. Hyun stated.

An important social movement often leaves deep changes in a society, as did the Civil Rights Movement in the USA, the May 1968 protest in France or the German reunification. Things cannot be as they were before, not only because of the changes in the social and political fields, but also because the individuals have changed their vision of the world thanks to the social movement. Some said that ‘acting collectively’ is the ‘only’ way disposed to the powerless. In this lecture, you will be able to examine how the powerless people made a powerful thing, that is, bringing democracy in the Korean society.

Dr. Hyun Jeong-im’s is visit is sponsored by the Academy of the Korean Studies under the Visiting Lectureship Program of Korean Studies Grant 2011. Dr. Hyun Jeong-im defended her dissertation of PhD in Sociology at Paris Sorbonne University (Paris IV). Since 2008 the scholar has been teaching at Sogang University in Seoul. Dr. Hyun Jeong-im’s main research interests are related to political sociology and social movements.

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