South Korean “Youth Culture” of the 1970s and State-Led Modernization

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The article examines features of Park Chung-hee’s project of modernization and identifies socio-economic and cultural influence of such state-led modernization on the creation and development of South Korean “youth culture” of the 1970s. The authors highlight several specific policies and socio-economic trends that led the emergence of “youth culture”: rapid urbanization and drastic increase in urban population; increase in urban families’ incomes and consumption; changes in the division of labor; expansion of both school and university education and dissemination of mass media. Along with that, the article analyzes the influence of the policies of managed westernization and developmentalist discourse of the 1960s on the formation of values of this “youth culture”. The paper explains how these state-led policies paved the way for the creation of “youth culture” that paradoxically contained drastically different values compared to both official discourse of the Yusin government and values of parental generation. The new generation born after the Korean War, the so-called Hangeul generation, became the main driving force behind it, but faced repetitive misunderstanding and condemnation from both the older generation and the state. Eventually, due to state’s pressure, this “youth culture” experienced decline in the second half of the 1970s.

About the authors

Alexander S. Starshinov

Institute of Asian and African Studies Lomonosov Moscow State University

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9169-1414

post-graduate student at the Institute of Asian and African Studies

11 Mokhovaya St, Moscow, Russia, 125009

Natalya N. Kim

Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Science

ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7728-7968

PhD in History, Research Fellow

12 Rozhdestvenka St, Moscow, Russia, 107031


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Copyright (c) 2022 Starshinov A.S., Kim N.N.

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