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Title: State form and state strategy : the case of the Kim Dae Jung Regime in South Korea (1998-2003)
Authors: Song, Baekseok
Issue Date: 2004
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This study explores the Kim Dae Jung regime's(1998-2003) implementation of the restructuring policy of the chaebol (i.e., the mega industrial conglomerates in Korea) in order to demonstrate that the capitalist state is located within a complex dialectic of structures(forms) and strategies. In addition this thesis critically reviews some contentious issues in the field of capitalist state theory. Applying major state theories to the case of the Korean state, this study defines the form of the Kim Dae Jung state as an ensemble of its 'exacerbated dependency' at the international level; 'increased labour power' at the level of social formation; and 'fragile state unity' at the level of the political regime. The form of the Kim Dae Jung state is emphasized as a binding structure which regulated the development of the government's chaebol reform policy. At the same time, in order to overcome the fallacy of the form determination thesis, the capitalist state( the Kim Dae Jung state)is stressed as a social relation that can be analysed as 'the site,the generator and the product of strategies'. Within the analytical framework of the dialectical complex of 'structure and strategy', this study investigates the successful and/or detrimental structural conditions of the chaebol reform policy and the strategies of the state and social classes to capitalise on and/or overcome those conditions. Apart from dealing with the Korean case, this research is concerned with the review of state theory. With regard to the state's relation with the economy in capitalism, the mainstream intellectual tendency is challenged: the tendency to accept a dichotomous relation between the state and the economy and confirm the absence of state intervention in neo-liberalism. The class nature of the capitalist state is also an important issue in this study. Revisiting the 'Miliband-Poulantzas debate, this study demonstrates that the capitalist state is not 'a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie'. More importantly, this study reveals (for the first time) the hard-core of Poulantzas' theory (i. e., the reproduction mechanism of the economic system) and demonstrates that the lack of the understanding of this 'reproduction mechanism' has caused a serious degree of misunderstanding of Poulantzas among state theorists (including Bob Jessop, Stuart Hall and Ralph Miliband). Finally, this study suggests that it is constructive to investigate contemporary issues, i.e., globalisation, Euro-capitalism and American imperialism in the context of the reproduction mechanism of the whole world capitalist system.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

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