Korea: The Politics of the Vortex

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9780674505506: Korea: The Politics of the Vortex
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This study presents a wholly new interpretation of the pattern of Korean politics and its origin in Korean society and culture. It also represents a new approach in the analysis of politics itself, with relevance for other societies in Asia and, in some instances, Africa. The author finds that Korea offers an extreme example of what occurs when, for a millennium and a half, and unusually homogeneous society is surmounted by a highly centralized political system existing in a culturally monist environment. In the circumstances intermediary organizations tend to remain inchoate, depriving the society of the seedbeds for leadership. As a result, or power politics - the culture's one great magnet - exerts an irresistible pull upward toward the capital. Individuals rely on patrons, chance, personal appearance, family, and, in recent times education to bring them success, but not on organization. This tendency has long inhibited the formation of true political parties, and such groupings as have existed have been temporary associations of individuals whose desire for personal power has far outweighed any wish for group continuity. This is a phenomenon of the vortex in Korean politics both present and past. --- excerpt from book's dustjacket

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Henderson, Gregory
Published by Harvard University Press (1968)
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