Dec 18, 2015

Seminar Report "Multiple Social Crises in South Korea: A Sociological Analysis"

On Wednessday, December 9, 2015, RCAPS welcomed Professor Shin Kwang-Yeong(Department of
Sociology, Chung-Ang University) to deliver an RCAPS seminar entitled, "Multiple Social
Crises in South Korea: A Sociological Analysis". The seminar was held in English.

[Report by APS Professor Shinji Kojima]

Using tables and other visual representations, Professor Shin gave a talk on the rising
socio-economic issues in contemporary South Korea. He began by elaborating on the 1997
financial crisis and the ensuing neoliberal reforms undertaken by the Korean government.
One of the most significant consequences to the Korean society was the casualization of
work, with increasing number of workers employed under insecure, precarious
arrangements. Given the low level of social expenditure, more men and women of the
working age are suffering from unstable employment and of poverty. In conjunction with the
casualization of work, Professor Shin identified three crises the society is facing:
rapid aging, high suicide rate, and the dissolution of family as observed in the recent
rise of divorce rate. These phenomena have simultaneously led to the construction of an
unequal society. The Q&A session was a lively one. The audience raised questions that
compared their own country’s situation with the Korean case. Some students from Korea
were concerned with educational inequality, while others questioned the nature of inequality
from the standpoint of gender/women.

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