International Development Planning Review

Civic spaces in urban Korea: The spatial enrichment of civil society

International Development Planning Review (2002), 24, (4), 419–432.

Abstract

Civic space is not a 'given': it is created by civil struggles over the ways in which the use of space is determined. This paper aims to dissect the relationships between the form and function of civic space, with a view to addressing the question of how civil society emerges in an urban context. In South Korea, four types of civic space can be identified. The most explicit are those places in which citizens' voices can be organised and magnified, as in street protests. A second type involves new spaces created by state–society contestations over land-use. The third type, of which there are many examples, involves those places that accommodate collective life, where civil society-based life is socially reproduced. A fourth type are those spaces in which people experience postmodern phenomena such as consumer identity, virtual engagement, neoliberal competition and exclusion. The differences between these four types are outlined in terms of their contributions to the enrichment of Korean civil society.

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Author details

Cho, Myung-Rae