A Political Analysis of the South Korean 1980’s Democracy Movement and Gwangju Uprising


Gwangju Uprising
democratic movements
civic society
class movements
civil rights movements


The fight for democracy has been and will continue to be of utmost importance around the world. South Korea is one of many countries which had to take part in such a fight - and succeeded. This paper provides a political analysis of the South Korean democracy movement, by analyzing the historical context, the characteristics and decisions of participants, and critiquing the outcome, in order to better understand the function of protest politics. In the 1970s and 1980s, South Korea was locked in conflict between the military-led dictatorship, and the civilians who demanded the right to live by their own rules in democracy. The civilians’ fight was long and difficult, and peaked in an event known as the Gwangju Uprising. It can be said with certainty that though mass casualties were suffered, the case of South Korea can provide great inside into the definition of success. the significance of democracy, and a further understanding of protest politics.

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