Prosecution Reform and the Politics of Faking Democracy in South Korea

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A public struggle in South Korea around prosecution reform brings into focus a deeper battle between forces seeking to make the state more responsive to ordinary people and those aiming to preserve the status quo. Opponents of prosecution reform turned to a mode of politics that appropriated the styles and symbols of democracy to justify the obstruction of reforms that would break down a key authoritarian legacy and source of entrenched privilege. They deployed multiple methods of “faking” democracy: assuming the mantle of anti-corruption champions, drawing on tropes from the anti-authoritarian opposition of the past, and normalizing marginal views. The politics of prosecution reform illuminates the mass struggle that defines South Korea’s democracy and also points to a dangerous and subtle mode of politics that is increasingly visible around the world yet under-appreciated in most approaches to thinking about democracy.
TidskriftCritical Asian Studies
StatusPublished - 2021 mar 2

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