Contentious politics in protracted transition and the dynamics of actors: an analysis of South Korean movement history and party politics
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Twentieth century has seen a significant number of social changes, taking in different forms of revolution, revolts and protests. Nevertheless, as the world stabilized with the termination of Cold War, contention also seemed to have died down. Dominating theories concluded with generalizations that contentions are inevitable process of social change; it comes and goes. South Korea, on the other hand, remains an anomaly due to contentious actors’ persisting influence in the society. In reality, contention does not exist in isolation from the society, but arises from the very soil of it. South Korea actors, the institutions and parties reflecting contentious identity attests its protracted existence beyond the contentious episodes. I argue that contentious politics is not an isolated event that belongs in the transitionary period, but is capable of creating a continuously interacting variable in the society. Thus, in the case of South Korea and its protracted democratization, contention needs to be understood as an organic product of South Korean history that continues to influence the contentious identity to fulfill their self-perceived historical duty of achieving a legitimate government.
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