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[Vol.34 (2020)] Confucian Characteristics of Korean Democracy: An Approach from a Republican Perspective
Author : Eun-Joo Chang
Date : 20.08.27
Page : 155–183
Keyword : Korean democracy, Confucian tradition, republicanism, mixed constitution, civil politics, meritocracy, oligarchy
Abstract :

Unlike conventional approaches, this study aims at critically analyzing the

relationship between Korean democracy and its Confucian tradition from

a republican perspective. With this purpose, it pays particular attention to

the Neo-Confucian tradition of mixed constitution, which is characterized

by “co-governance by the monarch and his subjects” (gunsin gongchi

君臣共治). This tradition provided a historical precedent or an embryo for

a certain type of democracy that was later to be developed in Korea—

to be precise, “democratic republic.” In this respect, Korean democracy

can be understood simply neither as an import from the West nor as its

imitation, but rather as the product of Korea’s own historical processes.

This approach stresses the importance of the tradition of civic politics,

which has a Confucian-republican hue, in the development of democracy

in Korea. On the other hand, the Confucian tradition of politics has

admittedly cast a dark shadow on Korean democracy, leading above

all to a legacy of “meritocratic oligarchy” by a small group of elites too,

which has been created and legitimized by the Confucian tradition of


Attachments : 6(Eun-Joo Chang)0826(e).pdf

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