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Cultural performance and political regime change

[journal article]

Kern, Thomas

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Abstract The question about how culture shapes the possibilities for successful democratization has been a controversial issue for decades. This article maintains that successful democratization depends not only on the distribution of political interests and resources, but to seriously challenge a political regime, the advocates of democracy require cultural legitimacy as well. Accordingly, the central question is how democratic ideas are connected to the broader culture of a social community. This issue will be addressed in the case of South Korea. The Minjung democracy movement challenged the military regime by connecting democratic ideas concerning popular sovereignty and human rights with cultural traditions. The dissidents substantiated democratic values by (1) articulating an alternative concept of political representation against the authoritarian regime, (2) increasing the cultural resonance of their concept by linking democratic ideas to traditional narratives and practices, (3) developing a rich dramaturgical repertoire of collective action, and (4) mobilizing public outrage by fusing the above three elements within historical situations.
Keywords South Korea; political culture; political theory; political regime; political system; democratization; the public; civil society; collective identity; protest movement; collective memory; political change; mobilization; Far East
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Free Keywords Regimewechsel
Document language English
Publication Year 2009
Page/Pages p. 291-316
Journal Sociological Theory, 27 (2009) 3
ISSN 1467-9558
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.