The purpose of this paper is to identify the cause how the student movement in South Korea enjoyed the golden age in the 1970–1990s and could not be revived since the late 1990s and cannot be played a pivotal role again.Design/methodology/approachThis study adopts historical analysis as primary methodology, traced the historical evolution of South Korean student activism in the 1970–1990s through analyzing secondary Korean literature and newspaper on the particular struggle cases in the period.FindingsSocial solidarity between society and student had played a pivotal role in the South Korean students' long activism in the struggle of the 1970–1990s. In the 1970–1980s, democratic election and constitutional reform set in the main purpose of struggle that attracted wide support from society and enjoyed maintaining a new member supply and their commitment despite authoritarian government's persistent oppression. When the sixth constitution was passed in 1987 with Democratization, the student decided to choose continuing struggle and set social cooperation with North Korea as the new goal, the sensitive issue in South Korea that confronted fierce criticism. Society chose to withdraw their support to the activism in the Yonsei University incident of 1996, rung a knell of long struggle since the 1970s.Originality/valueThe research identified the cause how South Korean students in university could persist long strike without particular internal resource production during three decades and ended the long struggle in the late 1990s; the existence of social solidarity between student and society was the main reason of continued new member supply and their commitment in the battle.
Asian Education and Development Studies – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 9, 2020
Keywords: Student movement; Social solidarity; South Korea